Aug 26 2013

Gia Truyen Pho


I was on a mission to find the perfect pho soup. Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup that has rice noodles, broth and chicken or beef, depending on your preference, and Pho is one of the most traditional things you can have in Vietnam and you will see small eateries advertising they have Pho everywhere in Vietnam from north to south. I had seen little pho places around Hanoi, where locals would be cramped on small chairs, eating the pho, and I wanted to go eat such a pho. My Frommers travel guide recommended Gia Yruyen Pho, in the old quarter of Hanoi, on the west side of the Old Quarter near the old citadel wall.

When we arrived at 7.30pm the place did look grubby with stools and tables inside and some outside, and the restaurant was half full and on one side there were a few men making the pho. There was beef hanging from one side of what can be loosely called the counter, and one of the men was cutting this beef with a super sharp huge knife and another was then adding this to the broth full of noodles and topping this with spices and spring onions. There were 3 things on the menu, but as it was all in Vietnamese, I could not understand what these three things were, and we just pointed to the beef broth pho, which is what we wanted and which we thought was the safest thing to have in this place and which cost 55,000 (around £1.65). You have to be quite pushy in this restaurant to get served, as we sort of hesitated and a small old Vietnamese lady pushed past us and ordered before us. She was quite cute and had her own pho bowl with her which she asked to be filled. 

After you ordered your pho you had to go round the other side of this “counter” and wait for your pho to be made and then take it and carry it to your seat (wherever you chose to sit). This apparently is the “old way” in Hanoi, as usually even in cheap eateries in Hanoi, they do serve you and bring the food to you. There are also not that many tables and chairs here, so you will most definitely have to sit quite close to other people you don’t know. We sat across from a Vietnamese man who seemed a bit puzzled to see us in this eatery.

The pho was good, but I can’t say it was that much different or that much better than other pho soups we had in different locations in Vietnam, but it was very authentic and I found that many places in Vietnam make similar yet extremely good and traditional pho soups. Also the beef did feel quite cheap and my boyfriend said it reminded him of corned beef, but note as I have had quite a few beef phos ever since, I can tell you that this sort of “not the best quality beef” is the most traditional in pho, and even in much nicer restaurants, they still would use this sort of beef (maybe in a more hygienic serving way, ie you would not find it hanging next to the till). In this restaurant we did get good value for money as the soup was filling and full of beef and noodles and cost less than £2.

I would not rush back to this place thinking their pho was better than in other places in Hanoi, but if you want to experience the traditional Vietnamese pho how the locals eat it in a small little restaurant, then this place is a good place to start.

Date: 26/ 08/ 13
Location: Hanoi
Price for 2 people for just pho: 110,000 VND (£3.3)

Maija rated: 



Gia Truyen Pho
49 Bat Dan, Old Quarter
Gia Truyen Pho Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 2.5