Phở (noodle soup) is a delicacy and specialty in Vietnam.
It is probably Vietnam’s most famous food, and locals and foreigners alike can be seen chowing-down on the rice-noodle soup in almost any major city in the world.
Soup is not the only way to enjoy Vietnam’s signature dish – “mixed pho” is a new dry blend of soft noodle threads and tasty sauce
Phở gà trộn (rice noodles mixed with chicken). When rice noodles are mixed with chicken, the dish tastes greasy but not fatty.
Most of Vietnam’s unique culinary traits, known for their nuance and subtlety, are available in a bowl of phở noodle soup. Whatever foreign visitors are from, they often love to find their own tiny phở shop on some unfamiliar corner or down a small alley. Walking the city in search of the best phở is as great a pastime as any.
In its most traditional version, phở is prepared as a rice noodle soup served with beef, herbs such as basil and cilantro, and bean sprouts.
Apart from the traditional version, talented Vietnamese cooks have combined other ingredients or prepared phở noodles in non-soup dishes. Phở cuốn (rice noodle rolls), phở chiên (deep-fried rice noodle crisps) and phở xào (stir-fried rice noodles) are three different non-soup options enjoyed on city corners.
But the newest version is phở trộn, which translates literally to “mixed pho”: it’s rice noodles with sweet and sour sauce. It has a delicate and pleasing taste that eaters often enjoy in the summer. There are many kinds of popular phở trộn and among the most popular are phở gà trộn (rice noodles mixed with chicken), phở bò tái trộn (rice noodles mixed with rare beef), and phở trộn thập cẩm (rice noodles mixed with chicken and beef).
Phở trộn is prepared by mixing scalded rice noodles, meat, herbs, bean sprouts, roasted peanuts and some sweet-and-sour sauce in a bowl. Next to the bowl of mixed rice noodles is a bowl of broth which is taken from boiled bones and smells fragrantly of ginger and green onion.
The threads of rice noodle in phở trộn are white and naturally crisp. They are soft but still tough enough. The sauce is extraordinarily delicious.
The sauce may be the most important part of the dish because it decides whether the dish tastes delicious or not.
Apart from some basic ingredients needed to prepare the sauce, restaurants often have secret recipes to make themselves stand out for their delicious and distinctive sauce.
Some restaurants use soy sauce in phở trộn instead of sweet-and-sour sauce. The soy sauce is critical to the success of the dish, therefore, it is prepared pursuant to a special recipe. When the soy sauce is added into the bowl of mixed rice noodles, it creates a fragrant and flavorful mixture.
When rice noodles are mixed with chicken, the dish tastes greasy but not fatty. It still retains the flavor of the herbs and spices used.
When rice noodles are mixed with beef, the beef is sliced thinly and marinated with some spices to make it softer and sweeter. The beef can be rare, well done, or anywhere in the middle.
BOX: To enjoy phở trộn in Ho Chi Minh City, customers can come to the following restaurants:
Pho Dam Sen
3 Hoa Binh Street, Ward 3, District 11
Pho tron Ly Van Phuc
5 Ly Van Phuc Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1