Forgot to mention this – maybe be of interest to some. I did a piece about the best Pho in Saigon for The Guardian’s 100 foodie breaks,
There’s still a north-south divide in Vietnam: Hanoians in the north of the country think their aromatic beef noodle soup, pho, is the best. But 1,200 miles south eight million plus Saigonese disagree. And there’s a very good reason for this. Ho Chi Minh pho is better. Not just better, but leagues, streets above anything you’ll find in Hanoi.
Pho is a deceptively simple oxtail stock soup infused with Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam), star anise, cloves, cardomom, chillis, cinnamon and many other Asiatic goodies. It’s cooked in mammoth vats with hulking great beef bones for six hours or more. Fresh, flat rice noodles (banh pho) are added just before serving. On the table you’ll find beansprouts, fresh basil, sawtooth coriander, hoisin, chilli sauce and a squeeze of lemon to taste.
After just over 10 years of eating my way through Vietnam – half in Hanoi, half in Ho Chi Minh – I’d love to recommend some back alley stall in an out of the way part of town that only a few hundred Saigonese and me know. But when it comes to pho I can’t, because the clean floors and colour-coordinated walls of Pho 24
(pho24.com.vn), a chain of soup shops, are home to the most consistently good rendition of this Vietnamese stalwart.
Whenever I’m in the city, I head to the original branch (5 Nguyen Thiep Street 00848 822 6278) down a small side street, slap bang in the centre of town. You’ll catch the star anise and beef stock wafting down the cramped thoroughfare before you spot the restaurant. While you might not get the street experience with all the motorbike fumes, horns, shouting, humidity and food hygiene paranoia that encompasses, you will get very, very good Vietnamese food. link
TBH – I’m not sure I even agree with the sentiments above now. There were a couple of outstanding wee stalls I used to frequent down a number of back alleys in District 10. But still… for your generalist, you can’t go wrong with Pho 24. Really think editors should start thinking outside old links. Why not ask Gastonomy or Robyn?