Monday, June 03, 2013

Beef noodles in a northern style in Saigon - Phở Phú Gia

When I start this blog year ago, my first review was about our famous beef noodles, I did mention that in Saigon we can taste different "phở flavours": southern, northern, chinatown (!), even some "overseas" (i.e phở prepared by "overseas" Vietnamese chef!). People may prefer this one to another, or some simply can't stand certain flavour, I have friends who really can't eat beef noodles in a northern style. What's is the difference here? - The soup? The noodles? The taste? Hard to say! You should experience yourself! Last week I've been to "Phở Phú Gia" - one of favourite spots for beef noodles in a northern style in Saigon.

               A bowl of beef noodles at Phở Phú Gia, a lot of green onion!  

The speciality here is "phở tái lăn", I was told that the beef, before served, has been quickly stirred, it makes tastier, I guess. And it was true, when I sipped a first spoon of soup and had a first bite of beef. It was very tasty. it's not like "rare" or 'medium" when we order steak. It's something different.

                  Bowl of Phở tái lăn at Phú Gia. 

I've been to Hanoi, I tried phở there. I like it. I like the taste, I like the clean soup...but not everywhere they serve a good phở. One of the most negative things for phở in Hà Nội is glutamate. I remember the cook always puts an extra spoon of "bột ngọt" (literally means "sweet powder") right before they serve.  

                 To have a good soup for 'phở" is a big recipe and it takes hours and hours to prepare it. 

If "phở" in a southern style requires a lot of fresh herbs, bean sprouts...while the northern style - no. No veggies at all, except some green onion or a lot of it at "Phú Gia", you can even order an extra. People said "phở" in a southern style is a bit sweet or too sweet as at popular "Phở Lệ" in Chinatown (probably people in this "Chinese"area prefer sweet taste), the northern noodles - much lighter.

            At Phú Gia, they serve phở together with a bowl of green onion and char kway (giò cháo quẩy)

                 Dip to the soup and eat it, char kway here is similar to Thai, small, hard and crispy... 

                  I prefer the big one, softer but strong...

             A popular side dish for phở - half boiled egg in "phở" soup, here we call "trứng lòng đào"

Neither chilli sauce nor dark soy bean sauce are found at Phở Phú Gia or any other northern style shops, these two typical sauces only for "phở" in a southern style, but at Phú Gia we can find a pot of pickled me it's quite new for beef noodles. Strong flavours but it makes "phở" more tasty.

I do like "phở Phú Gia", it's not really 100% of pure northern flavour, probably 90%? Anyway, it's good and I will come back here for sure. I do recommend anyone who loves to try different "phở" in Saigon. The shop is small and quite crowded, especially during "peak hours"(i.e meal time, but the service is super fast and clean!

Phở Phú Gia: 146E Lý Chính Thắng, dist.3, HCMC.

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