Jun 22 2011
There are many reasons I recommend visiting Ho Chi Minh City, from the shopping to the traffic it is a place to be experienced. The best reason to come however is to taste the food, the most famous of which is the legendary pho. But finding a great bowl can be tricky if you don’t know where to look — and may require you to get out of downtown Saigon.
Most travellers end up getting their first bowl of Vietnamese pho from a restaurant in the backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao or one of the shops surrounding a Saigon landmark. The most popular of these shops, and most recommended by the guide books, is Pho 2000, home to the self-proclaimed ‘pho for the president’ — former US president Bill Clinton was lured in for a bowl — and Pho 24, a pho restaurant chain with multiple locations throughout the city. If you’re really looking for the best bowl of pho in town, your visit to these establishments will, more than likely, leave you disappointed.
At both Pho 2000 and Pho 24 you can get a good bowl of pho, but not even close to the best, plus at around 50,000 VND a bowl they are both greatly overpriced. Also, due to their popularity, you may have to fight some crowds. Pho 2000, partly because of its location across the street from Ben Thanh Market, is always crowded and more than once while visiting a Pho 24, although later in the day, I have been told they were out of pho! Seriously, they can run out of their namesake?
My suggestion is to head a little out of downtown, to District Three, where you will find what I think is the best pho restaurant in town: Pho Anh. Here you will find a no-nonsense menu that, at 25,000VND a bowl, is priced right. You have the option of a variety of meats including the classic beef and chicken, which for Ho Chi Minh is surprisingly boneless. Even when it’s crowded, a seat is easy to come by, and the longest I’ve ever had to wait for my pho was two minutes.
And the pho is great: in my humble opinion, it is the best in the city.
So, swing by and grab a bowl — don’t be surprised if you see me there too.Pho Anh 8-10A Ky Dong, W.9, District 3 T: (08) 3843 7480
Pho 2000 1-3 D Phan Chu Trinh, District 1 T: (08) 3822 2788
Pho 24 271 Pham Ngu Lao T: (08) 3821 8122 www.pho24.com.vn
» Previous post: In Hanoi: Stand-up comedy, French films and an expat band
» Next post: Buying fruit in Hanoi
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.