Monday, 8 September 2014

Pho 24 - Ho Chi Minh City - South Vietnam, Vietnam

Pho 24

Pho is a staple dish in Vietnam and it can be eaten throughout the day.

Pho 24 is a Vietnamese noodle soup (Pho) restaurant, a popular chain and franchise, with a number of stores located throughout Vietnam and Asia. They are known for serving delicious and authentic Pho, using simple and fresh ingredients, at reasonable prices. The first outlet was open in 2003 and they have since expanded their operations and by 2012, there were 70 outlets.

We stayed at Palace Hotel located in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City. It's a great hotel with a central location, providing easy access to the tourist attractions. Do note that going around the City can be difficult as there aren't any trains in the area. Most of the time we took a taxi if it wasn't within walking distance. The taxis charge according to the meter and this turned out to be a cheap form of transportation to get around.

*Credits to Bu Binh

District 1 is the financial and commercial hub of the city and this is where most of the international visitors congregate. I felt safer in this area as opposed to another district we stayed at on arrival, which felt congested and not tourist friendly.

There are tourist attractions such as the Saigon Skydeck, Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, Reunification Palace, Central Post Office and the City Hall. As such, there are many cafes and restaurants here to cater for the diverse market.  Here you'll also find international designer brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel. I wish we stayed here for more than one night as there is a lot to see but we just didn't have enough time. Even though this was my third time going back to Vietnam, I never knew about this area until this trip. My aunt, a lady in her 60's, who has lived in this City all her life, has never been to District 1 and she said many like her also haven't. I found that to be an interesting fact as I would have expected most locals to have been here but she said it's more of a place for the younger generation.

Pho 24 is a few steps down the road from the hotel. Conveniently open from 6am, so if you're hungry you know where to go. A lot of places aren't open till 10am with the exception of street stalls and a few restaurants as they tend to stay open later.

The restaurant interior is modern, clean and thankfully air conditioned. You could say you're paying a premium for this welcoming environment. The Pho can cost up to more than twice the price of local fare.

The front of the store is where all the action happens. That is where they cook the noodles and compile the ingredients together. When we were there, it looked to be mainly locals who were eating in so that was a good sign.

Since it's a franchise, you can expect the quality and consistency to be will be maintained. The menu is extensive and they offer set combos such as Pho with a drink or Pho with a drink and dessert. At the moment there is a promotion on where you can get a small bowl of Pho for VND 29,000.

Pho is available in either small or large size. We didn't mention small or large when our order was taken, neither did the waiter ask, and we ended up with a large bowl each. Their large bowl is really filling and for breakfast it was a struggle to finish.

Chicken Pho is a hard dish to get right as restaurants tend to focus more on the Beef Pho. Some restaurants end up making it tasteless and bland.The 'Pho Ga - Chicken Pho (Large)' is served in a big bowl. A nice steaming, hot bowl of noodle soup with good flavours. The broth was tasty but it doesn't compare to my all time favourite Chicken Pho from Pho An. It lacked that kick, which may be because of how it's cooked or the spices that are added in. The thin rice noodles used are fresh and not packaged.

The 'Pho Bo Dac Biet -  Beef Pho Special (Large)' contains a mix of beef, tendon, tripe and beef balls. Their beef just doesn't equate to Australian beef. It lacks that oomph  factor and as such the Pho wasn't overly great, as the beef makes a big difference to the dish. The broth, however, was seasoned perfectly, not too sweet and just right on the palate.

The obligatory side vegetables are washed and cut up nicely. The beansprouts have most of their yellow heads taken off which is something I've rarely seen, if ever, at a restaurant. I actually don't find any difference in taste between heads left on or taken off.

'Nuoc Mia - Sugarcane Drink' is available in a can. Now that's something I never tried before in Vietnam. Unfortunately, it failed in taste in comparison to the real thing and tasted artificial. It wasn't bad for a canned drink but it can't replace the freshly made sugarcane juice with no preservatives.

In terms of cleanliness, quality and affordability, you can't go wrong with Pho 24. The Pho is standard and mediocre, but this is coming from someone with high standards for Pho as I've eaten it so much. If you're after those qualities and want decent Pho, then this is the place to go.

17 Huỳnh Thúc Kháng
Bến Nghé,
Hồ Chí Minh City,

Phone no: +84 8 3914 2424

Opening Hours
7 Days a Week
6:00am - 10:00pm Daily


1 comment:

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