Story: Cam Ly
Photos: Vu Minh Quan (Ngon Studio)

Phở has long been a daily treat for most Vietnamese people. Much more than that, phở transcends national borders as a new token of culinary cool worldwide. Along with the most popular versions of beef phở and chicken phở, foreign visitors should try other varieties that are equally tasty. Let’s join Heritage in sampling three types of phở

Stir fried phở (phở xào)

While phở is conventionally served in broth, stir fried phở is different. Stir fried phở can either be served with beef or pork organs. Fresh phở noodles are stir fried with oil in a frying pan over a hot fire until they toughen and turn golden. Beef or pork offal is quickly stir fried, along with fried garlic and cabbage until all ingredients are cooked. The cook adds some water and cassava starch to thicken the sauce and soften the beef. The beef, vegetables, sauce and stir fried phở noodles are served with a mix of fresh herbs and pickled grated papaya. This delectable dish is worth a try on hot summer days.

Sautéed phở (phở sốt vang)

If you enjoy a smoking hot and pungent bowl of sautéed beef, you will find it hard to get enough aromatic sautéed phở noodles flavored with cinnamon, cardamom and abundant soft, saucy beef. Along with a broth similar to that of traditional phở, this dish is served with a separate pot of sautéed stock. Beef with ligament is cut into square pieces, then marinated in red wine and spices such as ginger, spring onions, garlic, lesser galangal and orange day-lily powder to produce a bright orange red color. The cook stir fries garlic, onions and beef, adds water and cooks over a smoldering fire until the beef softens, then adds water mixed with cassava starch to make a condensed sautéed stock. The phở noodles are served in a bowl with added spring onions and herbs, beef, stock and phở broth. This is an unforgettable treat for anyone who tries it.

Roasted Duck Phở (Phở Vịt Quay)

Instead of the standard ingredients of beef or chicken, in this interesting dish,
phở noodles are mixed with roasted duck, which boasts a lustrously greasy skin. Served with smoking hot broth, duck phở originated in Lang Son and contains herbs and spicy pickled bamboo shoots to counterbalance the greasy taste of the roasted duck. The broth is sweet and flavored with many aromatic herbs and spices.