Meatballs galore – honoring a twist on traditional beef noodle soup
In December at the end of last year, Australia’s popular ‘Traveller’ website listed the top 10 best places for food in Asia. And right up there in the top 5 is Pho Bo Vien,recognized as one of the most delicious street food dishes. This is a variation on tradition pho bo (beef noodle soup). Pho bovien is a very popular dish in the south of Vietnam, and little known in the north. An ingredient that differentiates it from generic pho is that the beef is minced and formed into succulent small meatballs. Together with rice noodles and herbs, the meatballs, which can also be sliced, are bathed and infused in piping hot aromatic pho broth.
It was at the unassuming Pho Bo Vien Thap Cam street food stall named after the pho bo vien dish it has perfected, where the Traveller gave this worthy recognition. The food stallalong Nguyen Thai Binh Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s district 1, caters mainly for Vietnamese clientele. It is easily recognizable by all the motorbikes parked in front, evidence of a steady stream eager for some of the best pho bo in Vietnam.
Pho is synonymous with Vietnam. One can’t exist without the other. Eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it consists of white rice noodles, herbs with beef or chicken in flavorsome pho broth. Pho originated in North Vietnam as far back as the 1880s but is now an iconic dish nationwide. There are regional differences in terms of how the dish is presented, the taste of the broth and type of noodle. Just taking pho bo (beef noodle soup) there are many variations depending on the cut and cooking of the meat.