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Motormouth From Ipoh

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day 4 (Back to Hanoi) - Triple Breakfast for the Hungry Souls?

Pho Bo Gia Truyen @ 49, Bat Dan Street, Old Quarters, Hanoi - One of the BEST around?
For those who might be complaining/throwing tantrums/tearing the house down (heh) reading Motormouth From Ipoh only to discover more and more posts on travelling and sceneries, sans mouth-watering shots of sumptuous food (Oh Glorious Food!) can heave a sigh of relief, at long last .....

Opens daily from 6.30 am onwards, catering mostly to the BREAKFAST crowd. Don't come during lunch hours. But they open for dinner as well.
Vietnam boasts such an amazing repertoire of noodle dishes, from Pho Bo to Pho Ga, and Bun Cha to Bun Rieu. Sounds alien eh? They're mostly noodles with soup, and served either with beef (bo), chicken (ga) pork, seafood, or even with beancurd or plain vegetables.
Among all the selections above, the most famous one has to be the Pho Bo, (sounds similar to Fur-Ball) or Vietnamese Beef Noodle with Soup. Probably attained the status of National Dish of sorts (you can even find those so-called Vietnamese Beef Noodle almost everywhere in KL nowadays .... sans the authenticity), Pho Bo is commonly eaten by the Vietnamese community for breakfast, warming their stomachs in order to brace themselves for the day to come.

A heartwarming bowl of beef noodles, with an abundance of tender beef slices, and beef tendons, topped with various garnishings such as chopped scallions and coriander sprigs
Stepping into the shop at 6.30am, the place was thankfully half-filled only, rendering us with a choice of several nice tables for 6. But the ironic thing was that, only 50% of us eat beef, while the other half were scrunching up their faces, proclaiming SINS to all beef-eaters, and proceeded to pray on the behalf of us to "lessen our sins" and lectured on the sacrifices cows/bulls make for the comfort of mankind .... and yadda yadda ..... LOL.
They were forced to sit with us, as arriving by train from Lao Cai to Hanoi, we arrived rather early, at an unGodly hour of 5.30am. Thus, our rooms were not available yet, and sitting around in the lobby for TWO hours was clearly not the most clever thing to do.

The blurry shot was because the Pho Bo was emanating (bellowing?!) such thick smoke, as they're all freshly prepared on the spot, so be assured of a piping hot bowl of Pho Bo
We were seated, and waited patiently for our orders to be taken. No menu, no English translation, and even the staff were struggling with their command of the language. After about 5 minutes of wait, we were signalled to the stall in front of the shop. Oh, it's SELF-SERVICE, it seemed! Okay .... but it was indeed rather tricky carrying a bowl of hot noodle soup, almost overflowing with ingredients and soup.
As there was NO English translation on the menu hanging on the wall above the stall, I simply pointed to the beef slices (raw, reddish and oh-so-tempting! ... almost bleeding mash of beef meat) and beef tendons, and indicated I wanted 3 bowls of the same stuff.
The portion can easily feed 2, as they do not skimp on the noodles nor the beef. The beef was very tender, and the tendons were delicious and not overly chewy/stuck-to-teeth type, and the smooth rice noodles cooked in the clear but fragrant and sweet broth was delicious. The rich stock boiled from the bones and various parts of the cow was evidently the sole flavouring agent, imparting the bowl of beef noodles with such sweet and wholesome taste. Of course there's no bird's eye chillies (cili padi) with soy sauce here, but the orange-coloured chillies made a nice accompaniment to the dish, as were the fried dough sticks (Yau Char Kwai, to us M'sians).
A bowl at 30,000 Dong/RM6/USD1.70, not exactly the cheapest option around, but you're really getting what you paid for.
Location : PHO BO GIA TRUYEN @ 49, Bat Dan Street, Hoen Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam. Opens for breakfast and dinner. Try avoid peak hours (7am onwards for instance) as the place would be packed to the brim!

Banh My Stall @ 51, Hang Dieu, Old Quarters, Hanoi
Of course, since only half of the entourage had eaten, the other 3 were on the verge of fuming with growling tummies to boot! :)
And due to unfavourable news about bird flu attacks in Vietnam back then, we were rather apprehensive when it comes to chicken dishes, such as Pho Ga (Chicken Noodle Soup), and grilled chicken and such from the Chicken Street at Ly Van Phuc.
Next best option? PORK of course! In the form of sandwiches, or Banh My (pronounced as Barn-Mee). Oven-toasted baguette bread with a choice of pork, beef or egg as filling.

My baguette with pork pate, meat (ala Char Siew), lots of coriander and some chilli sauce. The drink is called Tao Pho, soybean curd + soy bean drink

The baguette bread was toasted before serving, hence you can be assured of crispy exterior and warm, fluffy centre. The pork pate was a tad salty, but flavourful, while the pork meat had a red perimeter, resembling our very own Char Siew. But the fatty portion may be a put-off factor to some. The fresh coriander leaves lent a fresh, green hint to the sandwich, while the chilli is the typical garlic-chilli sauce commonly available in Malaysia.

Tao Pho is the interesting combination of Tau Fu Fa (soybean curd) + soy bean drink, but to an extent, complete each other perfectly. Priced at only 5000 Dong/RM1/USD0.30 per glass, the drink is refreshing enough to counter the moisture loss from all the walking and trekking. The sandwich was priced at 8000 Dong/RM1.60/USD0.45, a cheap treat compared to the noodles.

Location : Banh My @ 51, Hang Dieu, Old Quarters, Hanoi.

Cafe 61, Bat Su Street
After the double breakfasts, we were longing for some beverage (Milo Kosong?! Teh tarik?! Kopi C Kaw?!) to down the grease and perk up our senses.
Squat/sit on those plastic stools, with taller plastic chairs as tables ..... a typical scene at Hanoi's cafes ....
Curious to see large crowds gathering at the porches of cafes along the streets of Old Quarters, we gave in to temptation and joined the locals for a cup of THICK coffee, with or without milk. (10000 Dong/RM2/USD0.60 per glass)

A shot of caffeine with condensed milk pre-stirred .....


And Kopi-O EXTRA KAW!!!!!! with sugar to tamper the bitterness

The strong coffee was an eye-opener in every sense of the word. Jolted up our half-hibernating state, and supplementing me with the kick I needed to start my day .....

He's Da Boss of the cafe ...... with his own shot, and a smoke
With that .... our day in Hanoi started on a slightly "higher" note ...... :)


What are these people lining up for?
To be continued .....

27 comments:

550ml jar of faith said...

Pork baguette!! Sounds out of this world.. or on our shores anyway! I love how they take their breakfasts seriously there...

Food Paradise said...

aiyo... pho.... my favourites and the baguette bread too.....i loves to put chili padi in ther baguette bread, pork........ wow.... should make a trip to Vietnam makan. lol

KCA said...

cant believe tat ur stomach juz like a cow's stomach (got 4 stomachs!!).. haha.. can input so many food in one time.. geng ar... *salute* =P

yeah, it's indeed a VERY BIG bowl of Pho Bo.. how come u all can finish it so fast?? rushing eh?? hehe.. but, the bloody smell (of raw beef) in the shop reli made me sick.. :S

the Kopi O reli KAW.. highly recommended to those caffeine lovers... =P

faster, faster.. wat's coming up next?? hehe..

email2me said...

What a feast you got there just for breakfast. Can go in all into your stomach? XD

worldwindows said...

Nice pho with lots of beef and thick must be finish non-MSG adulterated broth. Sigh KL ones not so authentic. Banh Mi the French influenced common person staple B/F. Very cheap.

ck lam said...

It's a nice change, seeing the people sitting on the low chairs eating their food.

teckiee said...

OMG I miss their coffee!!! and the feeling with you sit on the stool enjoying the hot coffee with the cool breeze blowing at your face (I went during winter) but the occasional honk as motors pass by hehe

J2Kfm said...

550ml jar of faith : yeah, but we Malaysians also take our breakfasts seriously what .... and lunch ... and dinner ... and teabreak and supper ...

Food Paradise : oh, got chili padi also ah? din notice also. but not bad, a substantial breakfast, esp after that gigantic bowl of pho.

KCA : wei, had it not been all 3 of you praying/chanting, we would've taken our sweet time savouring the beef-ilicious goodness ...

email2me : no problem for breakfast. maybe it was the cold weather, we were hungry most of the time.

worldwindows : yeah, banh my the cheaper choice for breakfast on the go.

ck lam : yeah, almost on every road, on most junctions, you can see ppl sitting on those stools, slurping on their bowls of steamy goodness, oblivious to their surrounding.

teckiee : yeah! it was rather cooling as well, and the coffee gave warmth and sufficient kickstart to our day!

Min said...

I still can remember the strong smell of the Pho Bo, realy can not tahan la.

However, I really like their baguette, it's not really the same with the baguette available here.

The strong coffee also was great indeed, hehe...suitable for coffee addictor like me la...and a good experience for us to 'mao kai' there drinking coffee...

Bangsar-bAbE said...

The pork baguette looks crazy sinful. The Pho Bo sure looks tantalizing, not to mention hugeee!

J2Kfm said...

Min : the mao kai experience was memorable eh? pity we only mao once or twice only.

Bangsar-Babe : sinful yeah, to the point when we picked out the fatty portions.

Selba said...

I miss eating Pho!

Are those people lining up to see the Uncle Ho's musseleum?

iamthewitch said...

Haha you had me cracking at Fur-ball ok! Now I will never look at Pho Bo the same way again... LOL

mimid3vils said...

Definitely a beef lover paradise eh~~

J2Kfm said...

Selba : you're right! all of us were lining up, so disciplined for once, to see the erm, well-preserved body of Uncle Ho.

iamthewitch : erm, that's the easiest way to pronounce them I think. though it's off the mark...

mimid3vils : yeah, but of course pork n chicken also a lot, depends on which dish you opt for...

Mboy said...

Ooh...The coffee was one of the best during the entire trip. Even their famous Trung Nguyen 3-in-1 ( Vietnam's answer to Nescafe )coffee pales in comparison.How often do we get to enjoy morning coffee "mao kai'ing" in the street =P.

CUMI & CIKI said...

uv changed ur look! i love it.. so big and easy to read.. last time teeny weeny la.. :P anyways this does justice to your photography for sure.

last time i read every word. now i feel every photo. good job!

kampungboycitygal said...

gime that pho bo..it sucks having to pay over rm 20 for mass produced pho bo in kl :(

J2Kfm said...

MBoy : yeah, imagine squatting down by some mamak stalls in Msia ... where got business like that?!!

Cumi & Ciki : i changed layout since after Hanoi. yeah, the previous cramped setting kinda limiting aint it?

kampungboycitygal : yeah, agreed! for RM6, you're basically getting two persons' worth.

fatboybakes said...

ah, what i'd do for a nice piping hot bowl of pho now....sounds like u had a blast in hanoi. i want to go saigon now, but accommodation so blardy exp...

Little Inbox said...

soybean curd + soy bean drink is interesting.

thenomadGourmand said...

Pork baguette! yummm..giv me bread anytime!
hv u tried pho hoa at the curve? wonder if its authentic enuff..

J2Kfm said...

FBB : Saigon dun have guesthouses meh? should have right? gotta stay away from thehustle n bustle of Vietnam. maybe after few yrs?

Little Inbox : yeha, like tau fu fa, but wetter.

thenomadGourmand : erm, i walked pass a few times, dunno nice not. but their price is rather reasonable, if i'm not mistaken.

Nic (KHKL) said...

i've always been curious to know how those banh mys taste like cus it seems like the filling's made of local ingredients. oh, there's chili sauce as well. yummy.

Hayley Phoon said...

the hotel seems pretty good deal eh..
which part at Hanoi?

J2Kfm said...

Nic : like baguette and mince pork, with fresh greens and chilli sauce. :)

Hayley Phoon : Old Quarters, or 36 Streets as they call it. North part of Hoan Kiem Lake. should be easy to navigate with a map, or utilizing the taxi service.

Hayley Phoon said...

okies dokies..thanks =)