Talking about night food tour Hanoi, pho vendors should not be ignored. In the old days, pho vendors was one of Hanoians’ favorites. And today, pho vendors still holds a fascination for the young as well as the tourists going on street food tour in Hanoi
The characteristics of pho vendors
With the warmth of the charcoal oven, the smell of boiling broth in the large pot and the quietness of the street, phở vendors from the old days has brought the unique characteristics. At cold nights, the streets of Hanoi are embraced by silence, the “mobile shop” is hung at two ends of the bamboo pole. At one end is a pot of boiling broth; the basket of bowls, chopsticks, spoons, ripped chicken, sliced beef, noodles, green scallions and corianders are slung over the other end of the pole.
Unlike pho shops, pho vendors do not serve rare meat, stir-fried meat or beef au vin, they only sell pho with chicken or well cooked beef. Despite the simplicity, the most tradition flavor of Hanoi pho is distilled by pho vendors. The bowls of pho are hot; the rice noodles is white; thin slices of meat are soft and tender; the broth is clear; the sweetness comes from stewed bone; the scallions, corianders and slices of lemon are fresh. They all combine to bring warmth to the diners.
Strangely, the bowls of pho sold by vendors are not deep. Compared with pho shop, a bowl of pho vendors has less noodles and meat, the slices of meat is also thinner. However, the bowls of pho vendors is delicious enough to attract the diners who love Hanoi traditional food
Nowadays, there are not many vendors of pho, but on the food walking tour in the Old Quarter, people still meet the vendors carrying the pole with the bits and pieces slung over the ends. The best time to eat pho at the vendors is early morning or late night when the weather is the coldest and the space is the most silent because people can fully feel the warmth of pho and the sound of the boiling broth, the tinkle of chopsticks and spoons striking in the bowls.
Some famous pho vendors
Pho vendor at the intersection of Hang Duong Street with Hang Chieu Street have no shop sign; however to the night food lovers it is pretty famous. The small vendor open early in the morning from 4am to 6am, but the customers still crowd the street corner. The bowl of pho is hot with the fragrance and sweetness of bone and beef. The noodles is chewy with the aroma of new rice. The broth is clear with a little bit floating fat to create the greasy taste on the tip of the tongue.
Pho vendor at the corner of Hang Ngang Street is equally famous. The vendor at 61 Hang Ngang Street open from 1am to 6am; therefore, people hardly see the long queues waiting to eat pho here. People come to the street vendor in Hang Ngang for pho bo (beef noodles soup). The special feature of pho here is the rich flavor of cinnamon and anise. That flavor is absorbed by the noodles and the beef, which makes the diners cannot resist.
At 35 Hang Vai Street, there is also another pho vendor. This place not only serve pho to people who cannot get up early but it is also a charity shop. Mrs. Thang, the owner of this vendor, sympathizes with the laborers who leave their hometown to the capital city for their livelihood. Thus, she open this vendor and sell pho ga (chicken noodles soup) to the other vendors, masons… The bowls of pho are sold for half price.
Besides, in Hanoi, there are some more pho vendors whose names are based on the name of the streets. Such as Ga Street, Hang Cot Street, O Quan Chuong Street, Cua Bac Street…