Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pho Gia Thuyen - Hanoi, Vietnam (Old Quarter)

First on our list of eateries on Day 1 was Pho Gia Thuyen for some Pho Bo or beef pho. This place kept coming up in multiple sources for the best pho in town. It was walking distance from our hotel, so we walked on over around 10 am and it was packed.

You can see that its doors have been pulled back and there's a square area inside where you sit down to eat. You order at this wooden counter where the woman is cutting up pieces of cured beef right in front of you and a young man pours the hot broth into the bowl.

Here's the menu. We had no clue what this meant. Jung said he ordered one Pho Tai Nam and one Pho Chin, but they looked and tasted exactly the same. I guess gesturing with hands only gets you so far. hahaha.

The price you ask? While we were there, the exchange rate was 19,000 dong to $1, so a bowl of Pho Chin was about $1 and the Pho Tai Nam was about $1.50. It's insanely cheap.

It's run like a well oiled machine. All the prep is done on this small wooden counter.

The rest of the restaurant is devoted to small tables and kiddie chairs. It's pretty much self service here, so you pay up front and carry your bowl to an open kiddie chair at a crowded table. I grabbed a seat for us while Jung ordered at the counter.

On each table are the following condiments: slices of chili pepper (beware, they are spicy), some vinegar and some hot sauce.

Unlike in the U.S., this pho was not served with a plate of bean sprouts, lime and basil. Instead, it was garnished for you already with a heaping mound of spring onions, to which we added some sliced chilies.

The bowl looks small but it was full of rice noodles and tons of beef. Jung said that the thought there was actually more beef than noodles in this dish. It was incredible! I've never tasted pho broth like this. I've tried making pho broth before and it ends up being quite aromatic with the star anise, cloves, cinnamon and other herbs. But here, the broth was undeniably beefy and unbelievably good.

I wish I could have bottled up the broth and let you all have a taste. Jung and I really wanted to come back and eat again, but we had 11 other places to try. Sigh ... is it crazy to want to go to Hanoi again to eat this pho again? Man, I am totally lusting after this pho right now.

Pho Gia Thuyen

49 Bat Dan

The hours are from 6 am to 11:30 am and then starts up again at 6 pm.


  1. i guess no rooster sauce and black sauce there? :P

  2. I know, we thought it was weird too, but we didn't see any rooster sauce or hoisin sauce at all, anywhere. Trust me, this thing does not need any sauce, it's awesome as is.

  3. dude. this pho.... it was MAGNIFICIENT.

    i still think about this place and their AMAZING pho...

  4. btw, that broth was like the most intense tasting pho broth i've ever had in my life

  5. Just been 10 minutes ago. Thanks for the suggestion. This was the best pho I've ever eaten. Thanks for the suggestion.