The Best Pho in Hanoi - A full guide of Pho Hanoi

Last updated: October 09, 2020 / 5916 Views

Pho is a very popular traditional food in Vietnam, a steaming bowl of pho noodle soup is never hard to find. Pho consists of flat rice noodles in a light, soup, chicken, or beef with typical spices which usually accompanied by, lime, lime leaves, and chili.

Through the history and stories, it is believed that the origin of Pho was from Northern Vietnam and it became well-known when people bring it to Hanoi in the last century, make it to be a snack then became breakfast and now is the food which Vietnamese can eat whenever they want, either it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper or snack.

The easiest thing to do in Hanoi is finding some vendors or restaurants selling Pho. All you need to do is just stop over and order a bowl of Pho, from big restaurants on downtown streets to small vendors with mini chairs and tables right at some corners, alleys, sidewalk. Indeed, most people just feel good no matter where or which vendor or restaurant they enjoy Pho, it simply thanks to the sophistication of this food. Of course, although there are hundreds of places selling Pho in the Capital, there is always some vendors and restaurants with their unique and perfect Pho recipe that are the most popular places with local taste, and below is a full list of where you can try the best Pho in Hanoi!

Pho Bo Hanoi – Hanoi Beef Pho

There are 2 most popular types of Pho in Hanoi: Pho Bo – beef noodles and Pho Ga – chicken noodles. However, it seems like most Hanoians still prefer Pho Bo not only because of its taste but also the traditional characteristic inside the dish as many people believe that Pho Bo is the original Pho Hanoi.

Pho Bò Hanoi (Beaf pho noodle soup)

Pho Bo Hanoi (Hanoi Beef Pho)

1. Pho Man Hanoi

Many locals said that this small business is where you can get the best of Pho Hanoi. Just like many other popular Pho restaurants in Hanoi, Pho Man is a family business, the only difference is that, up until now, when the second generation of the family takes over the restaurant, Pho Man becomes a symbol of a unique local taste of Hanoian.

The word “Man” means “salty” which describes fully and directly the taste of Pho here – it is salty! Why make salty Pho? The old elegant owner of this brand said that it will make people have a strong impression of the taste of Pho here and remember how unique it is. Most people think that it is so hard to eat anything salty, especially with people who love the light taste. However, the truth is that there are many people, who obviously do not like the salty taste but still keep returning to Pho Man to have breakfast even though to finish a bowl of Pho here, they have to order 2 more glasses of ice tea, drink continuously while eating to ease the salty taste of the soup.

The vendor owner making Pho Man

The old owner of Pho Man vendor

Why locals love Pho Man? The first reason is just like the owner said: because it is salty which makes it unique, long-live remembered and people become addicted to it easily after giving it a try at the second or third time. Another reason is because of the beef here and to be more detailed: the beef heel muscle (the best part of beef shanks) or in Vietnamese: “loi rua”. Many people said that they come back to Pho Man because the beef heel muscle here is the best in the city as it is totally fresh, moist, and juicy, especially when cooked at the rare or medium-rare level.

 

Special Pho Man - Best Pho in Hanoi

A signature dish of Pho Man - the best Pho in Hanoi

Besides the salty taste which is not suitable for everyone, the other minus point of Pho Man is that the price is quite high which is considered as the highest price among the most popular Pho restaurant in Hanoi (a bowl of beef heel muscle Pho and an ice-tea cost about almost VND 100,000/ US$ 4.5 ). However, as you do not eat Pho everyday, pay a bit more for an amazing bowl of Pho is worthy, right?

  • Address: No.1 Gam Cau St.
  • Opening hours: 6 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Price: from VND 55,000/US$ 2.5

2. Pho Khoi Hoi

Hang Vai street is just about 500m long; however, on this small street, there are two most popular Pho restaurants in Hanoi and Pho Khoi Hoi is the first choice on this street which is very famous with both locals and foreigners.

Pho Khoi Hoi opens all day long from early in the morning until sold out at night. The most special thing of Pho Khoi Hoi is that you have multiple choices for beef Pho here which you hardly can find at other famous Pho restaurants in Hanoi such as eye round steak, brisket, flank, shank, beef heel muscle, and even bone marrow or tendon. The signature here is Pho with brisket/flank/bone marrow or you can mix them up.

Pho Khoi Hoi - 50 Hang Vai - the best beef pho in hanoi

Pho Khoi Hoi - One of the best Pho vendor in Hanoi

There is a tip to have the best Pho here: you should eat Pho at Khoi Hoi restaurant before 11 a.m. as people believe that the soup flavor is perfect in the morning. However, if you cannot wake up early in the morning, you can still come to Pho Khoi Hoi in the afternoon or evening for dinner as the difference between the morning Pho and the afternoon Pho here is not that clear, therefore, not everyone can recognize the distinction. In fact, you may have to eat Pho here every day to feel the small difference in Pho broth flavor as in the morning it is cooked by the husband and in the evening, the wife cooks it, the same recipe but different chef creates distinct flavors.

  • Address: No.50 Hang Vai St.
  • Opening hours: about 6.00 a.m. – 8.30 p.m.
  • Price: from VND 45,000/US$ 2.00

3. Pho Lam Hanoi

Pho Lam is an absolutely Hanoi local Pho restaurant with old-style noodles (thick and small) and hot broth with light flavor (no fat at all). Different from Pho Khoi Hoi (which is only 10m from Pho Lam) that opens for all day till the evening, Pho Lam opens in the early morning and closes no later than 11 a.m. (normally it closes sooner). Maybe because of its short and early opening hours, Pho Lam is not popular with foreigners and tourists in Hanoi. However, most of the customers here are locals living in Hanoi who are attracted by the typical Hanoi Pho flavor of Pho Lam.

Pho Lam - 48 Hang Vai St.

Pho Lam - The perfect early morning breakfast

Just like Pho Khoi Hoi, there is also a tip to eat the perfect Pho at Lam restaurant: you should eat Pho here before 9 a.m. The reason for this tip is due to the quality of beef and broth here. As Pho Lam is so crowded since its opening time in about 6 a.m. until sold out (usually at 10 a.m.), the signature beef brisket point, beef heel muscle and tendon may run out quite soon, so if you come so late, the choice of beef is limited. Besides, if that day is crazily busy, the restaurant may be out of the origin broth which had cooked since midnight which forces them to replace by the new broth which cannot be cooked enough time, therefore, the quality of the soup may not be kept perfectly.

Although you have to wake up so early, a bowl of hot and savory Pho at Lam restaurant which shows you the perfect view of traditional Pho Hanoi taste is definitely worth it.

  • Address: No.48 Hang Vai St.
  • Opening hours: about 6.00 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • Price: from VND 45,000/US$ 2.00

4. Pho Ly Quoc Su

This brand name confuses not only the tourists but also the locals. As the brand “Pho Ly Quoc Su” now can be seen everywhere in the city, it is hard to identify which restaurant is the original with the best Pho in Hanoi. Well, there are only two Pho Ly Quoc Su restaurants that you should eat Pho there.

Pho Ly Quoc Su original

Many people think that when it is called Pho Ly Quoc Su, it must be at Ly Quoc Su Street (not only tourists but also a lot of Hanoi locals believe it). However, the truth is the original Pho Ly Quoc Su restaurant has no longer stayed at Ly Quoc Su street, they had moved to 27 Phung Hung Street for years but still keep the brand Pho Ly Quoc Su as it is so familiar with people who are their fans.

Pho Ly Quoc Su original - Phung Hung St.

Pho Ly Quoc Su original on Phung Hung Street

You have to note down that there is no franchise Pho restaurant of Pho Ly Quoc Su original anywhere in Hanoi, their family has been cooking and selling Pho for many generations and they do not sell their brand name or franchise it. Therefore, if you want to try the local taste and the original Pho Ly Quoc Su, just come and try it at 27 Phung Hung Street.

  • Address: No.27 Phung Hung St.
  • Opening hours: about 6.30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Price: from VND 50,000/US$ 2.2

Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su

Pho - 10 Ly Quoc Su Street

Queuing at Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su

So there is really a Pho restaurant at Ly Quoc Su street which was opened in 2005 and compares with other famous Pho restaurants in Hanoi which have been selling Pho for generations, Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su is still a quite new brand.

As its name, Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su is located at No.10 Ly Quoc Su street, one of the busiest streets in the Hanoi Old Quarter area and owned by a hospitable and culinary-lovers couple. Not only providing good Pho, Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su has another advantage: it is larger than most of the famous Pho restaurants in Hanoi and also has air conditional to keep inside cool in summer and warm in winter. However, in spite of its size, as Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su is too famous with foreign tourists, the restaurant is always too crowded with people cover full all tables and there are still so many people queuing outside, waiting to have a seat inside the restaurant.

Despite its young age, Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su is now a brand that has the most copycat in Hanoi. While the restaurant has only 2 more franchised restaurants in the Capital, you can see the panel with the same design as Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su (a simple orange panel with white words) everywhere in the city but the name of the restaurant changed a little bit into “Pho Ly Quoc Su” and of course, the quality of food is not the same with the authentic Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su.

  • Address: No.10 Ly Quoc Su St.
  • Opening hours: 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Price: from VND 50,000/US$ 2.2

5. Pho Gia Truyen Bat Dan

Pho Bat Dan or Pho Gia Truyen Bat Dan is also a popular name with foreign tourists as it was mentioned at many online newspapers, blogs, vlogs, and even TV shows, channels, etc. as a typical suggestion for the best Pho Hanoi. Most of the tourists were happy with Pho Bat Dan which causes the long line queuing outside the restaurant almost every day. However, when it comes to the local taste, Pho Bat Dan is a familiar topic of argument: some Hanoians said it good, some claim that its flavor is extremely normal, no impressive! Despite the controversy about the taste of Pho Bat Dan among locals, the long line with both foreigners and native residents outside the restaurant has not disappeared and there is no signal that it will be shortened.

The signature of Pho Bat Dan is Pho with medium-rare eye round steak (Pho Tai) in which the raw beef was tenderized, put on the top of the bowl of Pho then cooked by pouring the super-hot broth on it which help the beef soft, juicy and never be over-cooked.

Pho Bat Dan - one of the most famous Pho Hanoi restaurant

Pho Gia Truyen Bat Dan - one of the most famous and oldest Beef Pho Restaurants in Hanoi

  • Address: No.49 Bat Dan St.
  • Opening hours: 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. – 8.30 p.m.
  • Price: from VND 50,000/US$ 2.2

5. Pho Thin Hanoi

This is also a very popular Pho Hanoi restaurant among tourists but differentiates from Pho Gia Truyen Bat Dan which has only one address on the Bat Dan street and has never been franchised, Pho Thin has franchised restaurants not only in Vietnam but also in some other countries like in Tokyo (Japan) and Melbourne (Australia).

Franchised of Pho Thin Lo Duc

Pho Thin Hanoi was franchised to other countries

The Beef Pho at Pho Thin is not made traditionally. While the traditional Pho normally is a combination of savory broth with almost no fat and beef cooked perfectly which create the most elegant and lightest flavor for the dish, Pho Thin makes Pho in a different way that impresses you by the green of spring onion covered all the surface of the bowl, the beef was stir-fried instead of simmered and the broth was so fatty because of the stir-fried beef.

Stir-fried Beef Pho covered by spring onions in Pho Thin

Some people who are so familiar with the traditional elegant Pho may find it quite hard to understand how that weird cooking style of Pho Thin can attract so many people and help it become one of the most favorite Pho restaurants in Hanoi. In fact, due to the review of diners here, they stick with Pho Thin because of the huge amount of spring onion in the bowl and the special fatty soup which was described as so savory and greasy, this dish makes them feel like eating a meaty and fat bomb but will never be gross because the spring onion is there to balance their taste.

To have a bowl of Pho Thin, the price is also not so cheap, but according to some diners, the price is fair enough comparing with the quality of Pho here and the amount of beef inside.

  • Address: No.13 Lo Duc St.
  • Opening hours: 5.30 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.
  • Price: from VND 65,000/US$ 3.00  

6. Pho Thin Bo Ho

Pho Thin Bo Ho or Pho Thin Dinh Tien Hoang is also called Pho Thin like the restaurant above, however, it belongs to a different owner who only cooks the traditional Pho. This vendor is one of the oldest ones in the world of best Pho Hanoi. With more than 70 years of cooking and serving Pho experience, this small vendor is a reliable address with so many loyal customers.

Old vendor of Pho Thin Bo Ho Hanoi

The old small vendor of Pho Thin Bo Ho Hanoi

In 2019, Pho Thin Bo Ho is so honored to have the chance to serve Pho for experts and journalists DPRK – USA Hanoi Summit which is the very first time a small vendor was chosen to represent Pho Hanoi in an international political event. Before that event, even Hanoi locals cannot distinguish Pho Thin Bo Ho and Pho Thin Lo Duc. Thanks to the chance for serving Pho Hanoi at DPRK – USA Hanoi Summit, the small vendor Pho Thin Bo Ho once again can claim its position in the Pho Hanoi map as a traditional Pho vendor with almost a century of experience.

Pho Thin - 61 Dinh Tien Hoang St.

Pho Thin Bo Ho with 70 years of experience

If one day you come to Hanoi, you should wake up soon, eat breakfast at Pho Thin Bo Ho, have a bowl of rare beef Pho here with some crunchy Quay (Yau Ja Kwai), a poached egg, a glass of iced tea, and enjoy the fresh air of Hanoi morning while admiring the peaceful beauty of Ho Hoan Kiem (Ho Guom or Sword Lake) which is right at the opposite side with Pho Thin Bo Ho vendor.

  • Address: No.61 Dinh Tien Hoang St.
  • Opening hours: 5 a.m. – 13 p.m. & 6 p.m. – 8.30 p.m.
  • Price: from VND 40,000/US$ 1.7

Pho Ga Hanoi – Hanoi Chicken Pho

As mention above, Pho Ga is not as popular as Pho Bo in Hanoi; however, Chicken Pho is claiming its position in the best Pho in Hanoi world gradually after so many years the Beef Pho dominates the city.

1. Pho Ga Nguyet

This can be considered as the most popular Pho Ga restaurant in Hanoi where you can get the best Chicken Pho Hanoi and is not so far from Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su, so if you come to Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su and feel so tired of the long line queuing outside the restaurant, you absolutely should head to Pho Ga Nguyet on Phu Doan Street.

On the other hand, you cannot try Pho Ga Nguyet at any time as you wish due to the special opening hours of this restaurant. In fact, Pho Ga Nguyet is a night vendor, it only opens from the late afternoon till the next morning then is closed all day long until the next sunset.

If you expect to have a big bowl full of chicken, green onions, noodles, and hot broth, Pho Ga Nguyet definitely can satisfy you. However, you have a better choice when coming to Pho Ga Nguyet instead of the traditional Pho in hot soup: a bowl of Dry Chicken Pho or Pho Ga Tron and this is the signature dish of Pho Ga Nguyet.

Pho Ga Nguyet - Phu Doan St. - best Chicken Pho in Hanoi

The savory Dry Chicken Pho in Nguyet Restaurant

Dry Chicken Pho is a combination of warm white thin noodles mix with the savory sauce, topped with chicken (you can choose to have mixed chicken or chicken wing/leg/breast/back/feet/offal – the price will be varied due to the different chicken meat you choose), fried onions, peanuts, and some traditional herbs. No broth is put into the bowl of Pho Ga Tron; however, a small soup bowl will be served along with the dish. If you come to Hanoi in a summer day, instead of a hot bowl of Pho which maybe too much for the hot weather in Vietnam capital, you should come to Pho Ga Nguyet, order a big bowl of Pho Ga Tron which is the perfect choice for a summer dinner in Hanoi.

  • Address: No.5B Phu Doan St.
  • Opening hours: 6 p.m. – 10 a.m.
  • Price: from VND 50,000/US$ 2.2

2. Pho Hanh Hanoi

Only 15 minutes walking from Pho Ga Nguyet is its biggest rival – Pho Hanh. Opening at the same hours every day, selling the same menu at the same prices, these two Pho Ga vendors become one of the most popular controversial topics in Hanoi culinary world.

Pho Ga Nguyet vs Pho Ga Hanh - which is the best Dry Chicken Pho in Hanoi?

Pho Ga Nguyet vs Pho Ga Hanh - which is the best Dry Chicken Pho in Hanoi?

So what is the difference of Pho Hanh comparing with Pho Ga Nguyet?

The distinction is not so clear. However, some Pho Hanh fans said that the chicken used in Pho Hanh is better, the meat is fatter and the amount of meat in each bowl is bigger. In addition, besides the popular Dry Chicken Pho (Pho Ga Tron), Pho Hanh also has a signature dish which is the top favorite of locals – Chicken salad with chicken feet. If you are not willing to try the feet, you can order the chicken salad only (vegetable & chicken meat), it still tastes amazing with sweet and sour of Vietnamese traditional salad sauce, crunchy fresh vegetable and soft juicy chicken meat.  

  • Address: No.65 Lan Ong St.
  • Opening hours: 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  • Price: from VND 50,000/US$ 2.2

3. Pho Ga Cham

Like Pho Man, Pho Ga Cham is a special existence in the “Pho Ga” map in Hanoi, the difference is that the broth at Pho Ga Cham is not salty like Pho Man, but the price is much higher which according to diners here: it’s insanely expensive!

From the inside out, Pho Ga Cham looks like many other Pho restaurants in Hanoi, casual style, look like a small vendor with small plastic tables and chairs, only a few waiters and waitress, no kitchen – the owner is also the chef who directly makes Pho for diners and she cooks right at the front door of her restaurant. Although Pho Ga Cham opens at 2 house No. 64 and No. 68 Yen Ninh Street, at the peak hour in the morning, it is so difficult to find a seat in Pho Ga Cham.

More than the taste, Pho Ga Cham has been known with its impressively high price which the cheapest bowl has the rates of the most expensive bowl in other Chicken Pho restaurants. Some people said that the taste of Pho Ga at Cham restaurant is so normal, not worth its high price. However, with most of the diners who have eaten at Pho Ga Cham, especially its patrons and many gourmets, Chicken Pho at Cham is reasonably expensive.

Many Cham restaurant’s customers said that sometimes they have to pay VND 150,000/US$ 6.5 or more for a bowl of Chicken Pho at Cham but they are all still happy with it. Like all Pho Ga restaurants in Hanoi, the price of Pho at Cham restaurant is different due to the types of chicken meat that diners choose, however, while many restaurants have a menu with clear prices on it so diners can see what dish they can afford, there is nothing like a menu at Cham and if you come here for the first time, you may be shocked of the bill after your meal, sometimes new customers do not eat Pho Ga at Cham restaurant again because of this.

huge amount of chicken in Pho Cham Hanoi

A meaty bowl of Pho Ga Cham

So what makes Pho Ga Cham worth its super high price and become one of the best chicken pho restaurants in Hanoi? According to gourmets and many patrons of this restaurant, it is because of the perfect quality of chicken here and the huge amount of meat inside each bowl of Pho. It may crazily expensive when it comes to the bill, however when you think about the cost of that unique bowl of Pho, it sounds not so expensive anymore. On the other hand, it is highly recommended that if you want to try Pho Ga Cham, please bring along a lot of cash, prepare a strong mind for taking the bill and making payment.

  • Address: No.64 – 68 Yen Ninh St.
  • Opening hours: 7 a.m. – 1.30 p.m.
  • Price: from VND 70,000/US$ 3.00

aMaking Pho in Hanoi

Making Pho Hanoi

Many people said that traveling to Hanoi without trying the authentic Pho Hanoi means you did not come here, and it is exactly in a certain way because cuisine is an important cultural characteristic of any country and Pho represents Vietnamese cuisine. If you are planning to visit Hanoi, do not forget to note down one of the top things to do here: try a bowl of Pho Hanoi either it is Pho Bo or Pho Ga when you have a chance to stay at our capital, you will never regret.

There are many delicious street foods in Hanoi waiting for you to taste. Pack your suitcase and let's go with us!

MinKJ

Image sources: Internet

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