As a tourist or expat, you’ve probably explored the Vietnamese food in the area, especially the street food. Have you ever stopped to ask “what’s the big deal with Pho, and what’s the difference?”

The phở of the South (phở Nam) is dissimilar to phở Bắc, the kind you will find around Hanoi and other regions in the North. Phở Nam’s broth has less clarity than its Northern cousin and tends to be made with the boiled bones of beef and chicken (along with the occasional addition of dried squid). You can choose your cut of meat and how it is cooked when you order southern phở Nam. Noodle options (thick or thin) are also available. Vegetables and herbs readily available in the South such as bean sprouts and basil are unheard of in the Northern variation of phở. Finally, Southerners are said to add more seasonings to their soup than Northerners.

Note that in a real Phở Bắc restaurant, you will not find black sauce, but rather a very strong chilli sauce, which hails directly from Hanoi or Hải Phòng. Furthermore, if you get too used to normal phở, give phở xào or phở xào áp chảo a try, with stir fried or sautéed phở noodles (respectively), meat and with little to no broth.

For information on street food go to Street Food at Bui Vien

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