Family serves Hanoi pho in Saigon for 77 years

By Di Vy   August 23, 2019 | 01:50 pm GMT+7
Family serves Hanoi pho in Saigon for 77 years
A bowl of pho served with vegetables and pâté chaud, a Vietnamese multi-layer savory puff pastry with meat inside. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Tran Minh, a street vendor, served his first bowl of Hanoi-style pho on Saigon’s Pasteur Street in 1942.

Today, his daughter runs a restaurant named after him on the very same street, sticking firmly to the original recipe. The family-owned noodle soup shop is situated at 63/6 Pasteur Street in District 1.

Sau Dan, 69, said that her father began selling pho on this street after he moved with relatives from the north to the south in search of a better living.

"The noodle shop is named after my father. The shop is the legacy he left for the family," she said.

"In 1950, our family bought a small house and we opened a pho shop with tables and chairs for guests. Then, the restaurant was located opposite the current location and was not as spacious as it is today."

Pho Minh has been running for over 50 years. Video by VnExpress/Di Vy.

"Since we first opened, our shop has only used grilled ginger and lemongrass to cook the broth. We do not use cinnamon, anise, black cardamom (thao qua), or other spices. We keep the same recipe until now."

The Hanoi flavor of the pho served at this eatery is distinct in its light and sweet bone broth that has no additives.

Passersby will be drawn by the warm fragrance of grilled ginger coming from the boiling pot of broth which is cooked on firewood in a corner of the house.

The beef served in Pho Minh is tender and the noodle is soft and succulent. As in other places, the restaurant has different kinds of beef cuts to choose from.

Initially, the restaurant did not serve vegetables, hoisin sauce and hot sauce on the side, but added them later so Saigonese could add flavors that they liked to taste.

A bowl of pho is served with pâté chaud, a Vietnamese multi-layer savory puff pastry with meat inside, which some customers choose to dip in the broth before eating.

Sau Dan (R) and her younger brother prepare the ingredients for pho as it was first served by her father 77 years ago. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Sau Dan (R) and her younger brother prepare the ingredients for pho as it was first served by her father 77 years ago. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

The shop is less packed with customers these days, but it is still packed with families every weekend. It opens from 6:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. A bowl of pho costs around VND50,000 ($2.14).

Huy Hoang, a first time customer who lives in District 7, said: "The pho here is different from all other places I've had it. The beef here is soft and fragrant and hard to describe. The soup is also rich. However, the portion is quite small for anyone who has a strong appetite."

 
 
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