The distinct flavor of Northern Vietnamese pho and Southern Pho reflects the different natures and lifestyles of the people of Saigon and Hanoi. Today, let’s Tasty Touch show you!
With the popularity of this dish across the country, it is not difficult to think that pho does not belong to any particular locality at first glance.
“Enter customary” — is the Vietnamese equivalent of “when in Rome, live like a Roman.”
In the eyes of global sociologists, Vietnamese society is highly collectivist. So it is true that the Vietnamese carry this concept wherever they go.
One thing the Vietnamese cannot agree with, however, is the idea that a bowl of pho from another region is better than a bowl of pho from a stall a few feet from their childhood home. Acquaintance with pho recipes different from their homeland is a rather rigid limit, although they decide to fly more than 1000km away from Hanoi in the North and settle in Saigon in the South, or vice versa.
Yes, national pride plays an important role. Arguably, for the typical taste buds of Hanoians, Pho Saigon seems to be a bit too much. For Saigon people, the opposite is true: the majority think that the Hanoi version is rather bland and unimpressive.
If you want to cook Phở gà, you can try with our recipe.
Perhaps the international community will find this interesting, as pho is a well-known symbol in Vietnamese cuisine. With the dish’s popularity across the country, it’s not hard to think that pho doesn’t belong to any locality at first glance. Those in the know, however, will agree that the difference lies deeper than a mere matter of preference.
When considering the basic geographical and cultural differences between Hanoi and Saigon, a few differences between Northern Vietnamese Pho and Southern are inevitable.
There are varying accounts of the origin of Vietnam’s quintessential pho, although it is generally thought to date back to the 20th century French and was inspired by a beef dish called pot-au-feu, or “pot of fire”. This is a beloved stew that the settlers brought from France to Indochina. After all, if you speak both languages, “feu” and “pho” will sound convincingly quite similar.
Like pho, a standard pot-au-feu will consist of vegetables and an inexpensive piece of beef that has been cooked for a long time, with some kind of cartilaginous meat such as oxtail and seasoned with shallots and red onions. cloves to give the broth a smoky brown color. However, instead of eating baguettes, the Vietnamese combine this dish with their signature ingredient: rice.
France used to be based in Northern Vietnam in the early 1900s – the reason this region is known as the home of pho. While Hanoi is largely credited with ingenuity and contributing to the popularity of pho, the province of Nam Dinh is considered by many to be the birthplace of pho.
Pho reached other parts of Vietnam after the fall of French Indochina in 1954 when an influx of immigrants fled the communist North mainly to Saigon. At that time, perhaps they did not expect that the adaptations of pho recipes would capture the taste of Saigon people and thereby elevate the status of pho to a national symbol.
You can try to cook Pho Bo Tron with our recipe.
Today, almost anyone across the globe can enjoy the flavors of Vietnam in a hot bowl of pho. The rustic way of cooking pho and broth has gone global about 20 years after venturing beyond the northern border through a wave of emigration following the departure of the US government in the South – mainly including Saigon people. This is also an opportunity for Saigon-flavored pho to reach a global icon, which is recognized and loved by many people for its more liberal taste than Hanoi’s – a purity that is cherished especially at home.
Herbs and spices
It’s not difficult for a pho novice to recognize the difference between Hanoi and Saigon pho by appearance – this alone is a promising feast for the eyes.
In the capital, the presentation is very elaborate. A standard bowl of pho is lightly garnished with thinly sliced onions, spring onions, and cilantro. The ideal broth would be so clear as rain that one could see every ripple of the noodles underneath.
The accompanying meats are usually well-cooked beef ribs and rare slices of beef, although chicken noodle soup is also a popular local choice if you’re looking for something a little lighter.
Don’t forget to add the sauce for Pho such as fish sauce, chili sauce, pickled garlic, or fresh lemon and chopped chili as you like before enjoying your Northern Vietnamese Pho. Many locals also like to spice up their dishes with waffles, also known as baguettes.
In contrast, pho sellers in Saigon tend to put their whole heart into one bowl, which is considerably larger in size, and is often more expensive than a bowl of Northern Vietnamese Pho in Hanoi, even though the noodles are thin and similar to noodles more wretched.
And Saigon diners will never be able to enjoy pho without the effective help of herbs: mint, basil, herbs, bean sprouts, laksa leaves, and many others, in addition. Onion, cilantro, lemon, and chili are also very popular in Hanoi.
As for the seasoning, fish sauce, chili, and black soy sauce are indispensable to enhance the rich flavor of the fatty and opaque broth.
The meat selection is also more liberal when a special bowl of pho (mixture) will have up to five options: rare minced, ribs, tendon, brisket, and meatballs.
Sweet and salty
Now, you can soak up the difference between the flavors of the two types of pho right from the first spoonful of pho broth. Interestingly, you can also recognize the different flavors of the North and the South that reflect the different natures and lifestyles of the people of Saigon and Hanoi.
The sophistication and meticulousness of Hanoians’ daily lifestyle shine through in their cuisine, and pho is no exception. From clear pho broth to just the right amount of meat and vegetables, Northern Vietnamese Pho represents the purity and sophistication of a gift from mother nature, even though it is scarce, especially in wartime and winter…
Each element comes together in both the pho bowl and the morsel, bringing harmony to the dining experience – no particular flavor overwhelms the other and stays true to the savory theme. As the cradle of Vietnamese culture and the proud origin of pho, the northern provinces in general and Hanoi in particular set out to preserve the original flavor that has stood the test of time.
If you wonder how many calories in Pho, and the article will tell you the truth.
The legend of the South is a sweeter story, where the sun shines brighter, the cattle are richer, and the lifestyle is more vibrant. Pho Saigon is the diverse convergence of what diners want in a bowl.
A full bowl is a long statue of the kindness and generosity of the Saigon people, topped with an unprecedented and true sweetness: sugar is generously sprinkled when cooked in tandem with chicken bones. sweeten beef noodle soup. As the intersection of East-West influences, Saigon certainly knows how to create its own style for classic dishes.