The noodle soup
You can have “Pho” every where in Vietnam, but there is something special in the “Pho” of Hanoi. In his article, “Delicious food in Hanoi”, Writer Vu Bang wrote about “Pho” as follows”
To a number of persons, “Pho” is no longer a dish. They are simply addicted to it, like popular tobacco addicts and cigarette addicts…
From a distance one is already strongly attracted by the smell of “Pho”, just like the clouds and smoke of Huong pagoda which quicken our steps and climb the mountains in order to arrive at the pagoda.
Each “Pho” shop has a particular lay- out, a touch of poetry, so to say: attracted to a string right in front of the shop are a small bundle of onions with leaves as green as young paddy plants, some pieces of fresh and soft beef, some of them duly cooked or undercooked, some cartilages, some pieces of fat. The standing vendor continously cuts the rice sheets and meats, and sometimes open the lid of a big pot in order to pour the soup into the noodles bowls. As he opens the lid of the pot, steam spreads out, enveloping the nearby customers in a thin and vague trail of dew similar to what is usually seen in a chinese painting. The whole picture indeed stimulates your appetite. This is particularly so in winter days with cold breeze and one really can not go past a “Pho” shop and easily resist the temptation of entering into it. Yet, to say the truth “Pho” fans do not easily step into any shop found on the way. To them, enjoying “Pho” is indeed a process of enquiry and experiments, which in the end would make each of them, or many of them regular and faithful customers of certain shop. Each person, so to say, has his own favourite “Pho” shop.