Since Pho bo (beef noodle soup) is one of the most iconic street foods in Hanoi, many travelers asked us for our picks of the best Pho bo to eat in Hanoi Old Quarter. Hence, this brief article post tells you where they are.
As we wrote about what make pho special, it’s the high quality of the broth defining a good pho. A natural sweet broth is the difference between a regular Pho restaurant and a really good one. Therefore, finding the best Pho bo is finding ones with the best broth, and so this is where opinion from a local foodie is counted upon.
Before we dive into any detail of the best pho bo in Hanoi Old Quarter, let us quickly answer those two conceptional questions: “what is pho?” and “where is Hanoi Old Quarter neighborhood?”.
What is Pho bo?
Pho bo, or beef noodle soup, is a popular noodle dish that Hanoi’s famous for. A bowl of Pho bo consists of rice noodles, boiling hot beef stock, sliced beef, and topped with onion, scallion and cilantro.
Another version of Pho is Pho ga (chicken noodle soup), but most locals prefer the original beef version because of its undisputed flavor of a steaming broth cooked from marrow rich beef bones (learn more about this national dish of Vietnam in this article post about Pho).
Where is Hanoi Old Quarter Neighborhood?
Hanoi Old Quarter is the must-see historical and cultural neighborhood in Hanoi, it’s where most family-run shops, local markets, restaurants and boutique hotels are located. The neighborhood is also referred to as the 36 Streets, old district, or the old town. If you are looking on a tourist map, the neighborhood is the highlighted triangle area, slightly sitting on the top of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Alright, let’s jump into the important part right below!
1 – Pho Gia Truyen
Pho Gia Truyen is our food tour‘s number one Pho bo restaurant in the Old Quarter, because it’s among the oldest family-run pho restaurants in the city. Their Pho is famous for a high-quality and clear broth, which features the natural sweetness and the mellow taste that derived from simmering marrow-rich beef bones.
What I personally like best about their Pho is that, you can always feel the exposure taste of the minced ginger on almost every bite, and the interesting taste coming from their well-selected scallion topped on the soft noodles. Just make sure you add a tea spoon of rice vinegar and a drop of the chili sauce (hey, just a drop) available on the table, you will love the taste!
When visiting Pho Gia Truyen, it’s also worth noting that you should expect a line during conventional breakfast and dinner hours. The lines move quickly though, and you won’t be disappointed with what you finally have. We often take to eating at this place for a late breakfast or early dinner, just to not have to worry about the line.
Likewise, note that Pho Gia Truyen is cash only, and when it’s your turn you are expected to pay first and take your Pho to the table yourself. I know it’s 100% self-service busy restaurant, but no one actually complained about it. So, you know it must be a good Pho!
- Address: 49 Bat Dan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
- Opening hours: 6h00 to 10h00, 18h00 to 21h00
2 – Pho Ly Quoc Su
Across the city, there are many pho restaurants with the sign that says Pho Ly Quoc Su. Within the Old Quarter, there are two locations selling good Pho bo and we list their addresses and opening times below.
A bowl of Pho Ly Quoc Su features the tender beef with a glowing pink hue, thick but soft noodles, generous amount of green onions and cilantros. When eating their Pho, we don’t find the minced ginger like we did with Pho Gia Truyen, instead we have some sliced yellow onions. They drop the onion on the bowl just before adding the broth, so the onion slices remain a nice balance of astringency and sweet in their flavor.
The whole process of assembling a bowl of Pho Ly Quoc Su happens right on the spot, so you can take some photos before tasting the dish. If you are a fan of fresh cilantro (coriander), then you should definitely try Pho Ly Quoc Su. Be sure to add a tea spoon of the rice vinegar, a lime wedge, a drop of the chili sauce set available on the table to enhance the flavor.
- Address 1: 27B Phung Hung Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi (this location is of the original family who started the Pho Ly Quoc Su style).
- Opening hours: 6h00 to 14h00.
- Address 2: 10 Ly Quoc Su Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
- Opening hours: 6h00 to 14h00, 17h00 to 22h00.
3 – Pho Suong
Located at the T-junction between Trung Yen Alley and Ta Hien Street, Pho Suong is about 2-minute walking to the north from Hoan Kiem Lake. The place is quite small, so the owner places his beef stock pots right on the street. Pho Suong is one of the oldest pho restaurant in the city, hence the stock has its own natural sweet taste.
Topped their hot bowl of the eye-catching beef stock are the crispy fat beef, which was thinly sliced in big chunks. The beef is tender, not chewy. Their pho focuses on the vital elements only, which are broth, beef, noodle and some chopped onions, but the flavor is unforgettable.
- Pho Suong: 24 Trung Yen Alley, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
- Opening hours: 5h30 to 11h00, 16h30 to 21h30
4 – Pho Bo Khoi Hoi
Nested humbly at the end of a quiet street in the Old Quarter, Pho Bo Khoi Hoi has been a favorite pho for many local diners. What makes this place different from other Pho restaurants in the neighborhood is that, it opens all day – from early in the morning until they are sold out at night!
But what I like best about this location is that their Pho has some chopped fresh mint, and I can order different beef parts (learn about cuts that go into Pho), such as steak, brisket, fatty flank, tripe, and tendon and marrow bones. Yum! I want one right now. It’s just too bad that Pho is the last thing in Hanoi I want it to be shipped!
When you come to try Pho Bo Khoi Hoi, you can choose to sit inside the restaurant or on the sidewalk in front of the place. Just be prepared for their plastic stools and small tables, sitting down and getting up with their small table is sometimes a hard work for many travelers eating pho there.
- Address: 50 Hang Vai Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- Opening hours: 6h00 to 21h00
5 – Pho Vui
Like other Pho restaurant on this list, Pho Vui serves only one dish – the beef noodle soup. An open kitchen with large stock pots, some wooden tables behind the door step, and some green plastic ones with low stools spread out on the side walk are what you can see when you visit Pho Vui. Though owning a small space, Pho Vui has been a favorite pho restaurant for the local residents for years, its prime location in the busy tourist area also attracts many tourists.
A bowl of Pho Vui features super-hot stock with flat rice noodles, topped with eye-catching pink hue beef and some big long green onions. The stock is clear and sweet, and it has a full mouth feel of rich flavor due to the marrow released from long-simmering bones. The beef was thrashed before soaking in the boiling stock to soften it, which reminds me of pho in Nam Dinh province, the birth place of the Vietnamese pho today.
- Pho Vui: 25 Hang Giay, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
- Opening hours: 7h00 to 10h00, 6h00 to 22h00
Well, the mentioned places above are our personal choices based on our own experiences being Hanoi foodie guides, hope it help you find out the best places to eat pho bo in Hanoi Old Quarter for your next meal.
Please contact us if you are looking for a private Hanoi food tour with a real local foodie, we are good at what we are doing and looking forward to showing you around our city.