A man from the Central Highlands city of Da Lat has become famous for putting a new spin on Vietnam’s most famous dish: pho.
Instead of cooking pho using just artichoke flowers, 21-year-old Trang Truong Minh also incorporates the leaf sheath, making his shop the first and only pho joint in Vietnam to use artichoke stem.
“Through the bowl of artichoke pho, we can not only showcase the richness of Vietnamese cuisine, but also the creativity of people in innovating the traditional dish,” Minh said.
|A bowl of pho cooked with beef and artichoke leaf sheath. Photo: John
The artichoke pho at Minh’s shop, named Atispho, gives diners a sweet aftertaste about 10 to 15 minutes after eating. The artichoke in the dish also helps to stimulate metabolism.
Aside from promoting delicious pho, Minh is delighted that he can introduce diners to artichoke stems and their benefits, including that their nutrient levels are the same as artichoke flowers, but they are cheaper.
|Artichoke leaf sheaths are prepared before being used to cook pho. Photo: M.V / Tuoi Tre
"With artichoke pho, I want to spread knowledge about the uses of the artichoke stem, including how to eat it, because many people think it can only be made into tea,” Minh said.
“Artichoke stem can be swallowed, while the flower must be spit out,” he added.
“Chewing and swallowing also helps us access the stem’s fiber.”
|Ingredients to make a bowl of artichoke pho. Photo: M.V / Tuoi Tre
Artichoke is a medicinal herb and is considered a Da Lat speciality.
Artichoke’ stems, leaves, roots, and flowers are used to make medicinal herbs, dietary supplements, and local delicacies.
Minh's artichoke pho was also honored at an event held in September to introduce 100 delicious dishes made from Da Lat artichoke.
|Pho noodles at Minh’s shop are ‘dyed’ red with roselle hibiscus. Photo: John
“A perfect bowl of pho,” Ngoc My, 56, a tourist from the south-central city of Nha Trang said after trying the artichoke pho for the first time despite having visited Da Lat for many times.
“I have eaten pho in many places and in many different regions. The pho here has a light taste which warms my stomach," she added.
|A tourist from South Korea enjoys a bowl of artichoke pho in Da Lat City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre
|Beside pho, artichoke is also used to make beef hotpot at Minh’s shop. Photo: John