• Menu
  • Menu

Best Pho in Ho Chi Minh City: Our Top 3 Yummy Delights

Introduction to Pho

Before we take you to the top 3 best Pho in Ho Chi Minh, let’s embark on a culinary journey into the heart of Vietnamese culture with the story of Pho! Born in the early 20th century in Northern Vietnam, this aromatic noodle soup blends the culinary artistry of Chinese and French influences, reflecting Vietnam’s rich history.

Hanoi’s vibrant streets witnessed the birth of Pho, with street vendors concocting a symphony of flavors that would come to define Vietnamese cuisine. As Pho traveled south, it embraced bolder flavors, creating the dynamic Saigon style which we are more accustomed to in the United States especially in Southern California, home to Little Saigon.

Pho stands as a testament to resilience and adaptability, traversing the tumultuous times of the Vietnam War and beyond. Vietnamese expatriates introduced this soulful dish to the world, transforming it into a global culinary icon.

Today, Pho represents Vietnamese identity, whether it’s the clear, savory broth of Pho Bac or the rich and bold Pho Nam. Each spoonful is a celebration of a nation’s culinary heritage. So, let’s dive into this timeless dish with our chopsticks and spoons at the ready, ready to explore a world of flavor

Elements of a Great Bowl of Pho

A great bowl of Pho is a harmonious balance of flavors and textures. The heart of Pho lies in its broth – a clear, deeply flavorful liquid that results from hours of simmering beef bones, charred onions, and a bouquet of spices like star anise, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and coriander seeds. This slow-cooked, aromatic broth is the soul of the dish, carrying with it the nuances of its ingredients. If you don’t leave the restaurant smelling like Pho, it probably wasn’t good enough.

The choice of noodles in Pho is crucial. They should be rice noodles, slender and tender, yet firm enough to maintain their integrity without turning mushy in the hot broth. These noodles serve as a canvas, soaking up the flavors of the broth while adding their gentle, comforting texture.

Pho’s distinct character also comes from its meat, traditionally thin slices of beef (like sirloin or brisket), which cook gently in the hot broth, retaining their tenderness and flavor. Some variations include meatballs, chicken, or even tripe, catering to diverse palates.

What elevates a bowl of Pho is its garnishes – a vibrant array of fresh herbs and vegetables. Basil, cilantro, green onions, bean sprouts, and slices of chili pepper add freshness, crunch, and a burst of flavor. A squeeze of lime brings a touch of acidity, balancing the richness of the broth.

We can’t forget about the sauces consisting of Hoisin and Sriracha! While traditionalists may scoff at this, some prefer to put Hoisin and Sriracha directly inside the soup while others prefer to use a sauce dish to dip only the meats in. However you choose to enjoy your Pho is completely up to you.

Lastly, the art of eating Pho is integral to its enjoyment. A good bowl of Pho invites you to lean in, slurp the noodles, sip the broth, and experience the interplay of flavors and textures. It’s not just about the ingredients but how they come together to tell a story in each spoonful, making Pho a beloved dish worldwide.

Our Top 3 Best Pho in Ho Chi Minh City

We’re going to skip Hanoi entirely as the Pho up north lacks flavor and depth we’ve grown accustomed to. Let’s go visit our Top 3 Pho Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh/Saigon. All 3 happen to be on the 2023 Michelin Bib Gourmand in Vietnam. (Note – I will drop the accent tones throughout the article to make it easier to type the name)

Pho Phuong

We stumbled upon one of the best Pho in Ho Chi Minh, Pho Phuong after a relaxing massage at a nearby spa and was surprised to find that Pho Phuong was on the 2023 Michelin Bib guide. Located in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City, Pho Phuong has garnered acclaim for its exceptional Pho. Known for its rich and flavorful broth, the secret to Pho Phuong’s success lies in its meticulous preparation and high-quality ingredients. The broth here simmers for hours, absorbing the essence of beef bones and a carefully chosen blend of spices that you can smell from down the street.

Patrons often rave about the perfectly cooked rice noodles and the tender, well-seasoned slices of beef that melt in your mouth. Don’t expect welcoming service from the owner but if you compliment his restaurant he’ll be sure to give you a sly grin. If you get there early, you might be lucky enough to order the oxtail which we heard is to die for.

Pho Phuong: One of the best Pho in Ho Chi Minh

Pho Le

Pho Le, located in District 5 in Ho Chi Minh City, stands out with its unique take on the traditional Pho. This popular eatery is known for its deep, richly flavored broth that strikes a perfect balance between savory and sweet notes. Pho Le offers a variety of meat options, including rare beef slices, brisket, and meatballs, catering to a wide range of preferences. The generous portions, combined with the lively and bustling ambiance of District 5, make Pho Le one of the best Pho in Ho Chi Minh. It’s a must-visit destination for those looking to enjoy a hearty bowl of Pho in a vibrant setting.

Pho Huong Binh

We were actually heading back to Pho Phuong but our driver took us to the wrong address and we ended up at Pho Huong Binh in District 3 of Saigon. This place is a culinary gem that stands out in the bustling Vietnamese food scene. Known for its authentic and flavorful Pho, this eatery captures the essence of Vietnam’s most famous noodle soup with a different spin. At Pho Huong Binh, the rice noodles are round like spaghetti noodles, and they are known for Pho Ga or chicken Pho with tons of scallions to make the broth pop. All this makes Pho Huong Binh one of the best Pho in Ho Chi Minh!

Pho Huong Binh: One of the best Pho in Ho Chi Minh

We hoped you enjoyed this tour of the Top 3 Pho Restaurants in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh. Contact us if you have any questions or comments. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for weekly adventures.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *