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Buy it or cook it: Local and expat YouTubers highlight the diversity of Vietnam’s most famous dish

Saturday, December 18, 2021, 11:29 GMT+7
Buy it or cook it: Local and expat YouTubers highlight the diversity of Vietnam’s most famous dish
Japanese Akira who runs aNcari Room YouTuber channel is seen enjoying a bowl of chicken pho in a screenshot from her video posted on December 12, 2021.

Celebrating pho, Vietnam’s national dish, seems to be the latest trend amongst YouTubers in Vietnam, with a wave of videos featuring pho tours around Vietnamese city’s popping up on channels throughout the video platform.

These videos follow a Google Doodle published in 20 countries to celebrate the famous dish on December 12.

Originating in northern Vietnam, pho is a noodle soup served with either beef or chicken.

Pho tours

Akari, a Japanese YouTuber who runs aNcari Room – a YouTube channel – posted a video on Sunday in which she brought viewers on a journey to try three different styles of pho in Ho Chi Minh City.

“The first bowl will be chicken pho, the second will be beef pho, and the third bowl will be satay pho,” Akari said in Vietnamese. The video also included Vietnamese, Japanese, and English subtitles.

The first stop on Akari’s pho tour was for a bowl of chicken pho at a 30-year-old restaurant near Bitexco Financial Tower in District 1.

“The chicken and pho noodles are hidden underneath a thick layer of green onions,” Akari explained as she topped off her soup with fresh herbs.

“This clear, white soup is full of chicken flavor,” she said, adding that the flavor reminded her of chicken ramen in Japan.

A closer look at Akari’s bowl of chicken pho in a screenshot from her video posted on December 12, 2021.
A closer look at Akari’s bowl of chicken pho in a screenshot from her video posted on December 12, 2021.

After finishing her meal, Akari spent a few minutes chatting with the restaurant’s owner before moving on to a 15-year-old family-run beef pho restaurant in a different District 1 neighborhood.

At the restaurant, Akari chose tai – rare beef – to top her bowl of noodle soup.

“This beef pho has rich tastes of beef bone broth,” she said.

After her second bowl of pho, Akari visited another restaurant, also in District 1, for satay pho, a type of pho often served in restaurants run by Chinese people in the city.

This particular restaurant was owned by a Chinese-Vietnamese family.

“It looks completely different from other kinds of pho,” Akari shared as staring down at the bowl of creamy yellow broth and topped with rare beef, cucumber, scallions, and fried shallots.

“It tastes like peanuts. My mouth is full of the taste of peanuts and spiciness from the satay,” she commented.

“So tasty!” Akari said to the restaurant’s owner.

Meanwhile in Da Nang, Helen, a Vietnamese woman who runs the Helen's Recipes (Vietnamese Food) channel on YouTube also took her audience on a pho tour around the central city.

“As Google is celebrating pho, a Vietnamese national dish, with its Doodle, my team and I decided to make a tour of pho around Da Nang,” Helen said in a one-minute posted on Sunday.

The first stop on Helen’s tour was a restaurant known for serving up pho tai lan, a type of pho which Helen considered a “classic northern-style pho.”

“The raw beef is briefly stir-fried with garlic before it’s added to the bowl. It’s then topped with tons of scallions and served with just pickled garlic and green chili. No extra herbs and bean sprouts.” Hellen explained.

“This beef pho isn’t complete without a poached egg and fried bread sticks,” she continued.

The next stop on Helen’s pho tour was for a bowl of southern-style pho.

“This pho is so sumptuous with its brisket, flank, raw beef, and large meatballs,” Helen described.

After that, she moved on to the final stop of her pho tour for a modern version of pho served with all the toppings placed in separate trays and meant to be dipped in a large bowl of boiling broth served in a stone bowl.

“It’s not hard to cook”

The amount of time and ingredients it takes to cook a traditional bowl of pho puts many people off from cooking the famous dish, but that didn’t stop YouTuber and TikToker Ong Anh Thich Nau An (The brother who likes cooking) from whipping up a homemade version of beef noodle soup.

“I’ve never cooked pho at home, but everything starts from the very first step,” he said in a video posted to his channels on Sunday.

“I bet every Vietnamese has tried pho at least once in their life.

“Every time I look at a bowl of pho, I think about how difficult and time-consuming it must be to cook, but after I did some research, I found out that it’s actually quite easy to make,” he said.

Ong Anh Thich Nau An is seen enjoying a bowl of pho he cooks by himself in a screenshot from his video posted on December 12, 2021.

Ong Anh Thich Nau An is seen enjoying a bowl of pho he cooks by himself in a screenshot from his video posted on December 12, 2021.

According to his recipe, beef bone is brought to a quick boil to make it clean while onion and ginger are charred before being added to the broth.

Making it even easier, required spices for pho, such as cinnamon, star anise, and cloves, can be prepackaged together at most supermarkets.

After putting all the beef and spices into the broth, Ong Anh Thich Nau An seasoned it with sugar and fish sauce, and let it simmer on low heat for four to six hours.

“It’s actually not hard to cook pho, if you want to shorten the process, you can use beef stock which will help cut down the time,” he said.

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Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

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