HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM. On our 2nd day in Ho Chi Minh, we looked for the alleged restaurant that serves the best Pho in town. It took us a while before we found the place as it stood almost at the near end of the long stretch of shophouses and restaurants along Pasteur. Truthfully, I was shocked to see how old the shop is but I know better that I could never trust the exterior of a restaurant as it could not be a determinant of the quality of their food.
The exterior of the place does not demand any attention. If you happen to turn your head towards the direction of its facade, it certainly would not be because it was grandiose or magnificent but it is very likely that the reason for the headturn was the abundance of food displayed outside; more so if you find yourself hungry during your sightseeing! We entered the place without holding much expectations as we do no want to get disappointed afterwards. As you enter the establishment, no one will lead you to your chairs. It would only be you who will traverse your way to the table. You need not worry though if there are already food on the table. As long as the table of your choosing is unoccupied, you can readily claim it.
The menu is straightforward and the choices numerous. Nonetheless, the restaurant is clearly all about the Pho. If you are looking for a certain type of Pho, I can assure you that you can find it on their menu. If my forecast serves me right, this restaurant is the go-to establishment should someone find themselves craving for some comfortingly hot bowl of Pho.
As you can see, there were already some food waiting for you at the table. They are there to elevate and complement your Pho-experience and they would only charge you depending on the number of pieces you consumed. Us? We wanted to try all so we tasted one of each of first to get a feel of the dishes before indulging fully on them.
Though the waiters do not speak English well, we were still able to place our order with no difficulty! Just point in the menu what you like to order and voila, the waiter in charge would already know what you want! It is all about the visuals here in Vietnam, darling. Of course, each of us got our own Pho and a plate for sharing of the freshest fried spring rolls I have ever tasted in my whole life. If there is something that I really would not forget about Vietnam, it would certainly be the freshness of their food. There is something in the simplicity of their food that would appeal to you and haunt you even after you have already left the country. It is just so raw yet so delicious and satisfying!
The Pho was heavenly. I was able to taste the other Pho's that my companions ordered and I can really say that though their tastes were distinct from one another, they all evoked a comforting feeling within me. Moreover, they were all delicious and appetite-inducing! I ordered the Pho Bo (the beef noodle soup) and I enjoyed each slurp of the soup and bite of the noodles and beef. I super loved how the churro-like side dish greatly complemented the soup! Since the bread was somewhat spongy, it was able to absorb a great amount of the soup, reaching to its upper end!
Other than the bread, I also fell in love with the fish cake inside the boxed leaves! At first we thought it was rice cake because that is how we, Filipinos, package our native sweet delicacies but lo and behold, when we tasted what's inside, we were extremely surprised to taste the nicest fish cake there is! My brothers do not like rice cakes, so when they found out that it was not and it was indeed their beloved fish cake, they consumed all in an instant. They even wanted to have their plate refilled to the brim!
You can never go wrong with the food and dishes in Ho Chi Minh City. We had not encountered something we did not particularly like which made a whole lot of difference on how we remembered Vietnam. We loved every restaurant we went into there, but even more this one which served a few years back the former President Clinton. It is just exhilarating to know that he once sipped the same experience that I am sipping now!
PHO HOA PASTEUR
- Address: Pasteur, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Phone: +84 8 3829 7943