6 (Tue) September 2016
at Pho Co Gia Truc Bach
Mission to Viet Nam : Day 1.
In Hanoi. Here to attend a conference on ageing. Arrived this morning. Flying back to Manila on Friday.
When I requested a restaurant recommendation from the hotel concierge, the answer was immediately, enthusiastically : Home. TripAdvisor confirmed with a #4 ranking of restaurants in Hanoi.
The food was mediocre across the board. Obviously attempting sophistication, or at least what a foreigner may consider to be sophisticated — I was the only non-white customer in a packed house — but succeeding only in affectation. Tepid, banal flavors, lacking any identity, traditional or reinvented. Fusion at its typical worst.
Fortunately, on the walk back to the hotel, I happened upon a street-side pho joint. Even if I hadn’t been thoroughly unsatisfied by dinner, I would’ve dropped in anyway.
The pho was awesome. Contrary to what I’d read about northern pho (see generally 3.272 Pho Ga), the toppings were very busy — heavy on the scallion — and the broth was very beefy. But the melange of different veg added a bright complexity to the richness of the broth. Wide noodles in the northern style providing a satisfyingly full mouthfeel in every bite. My first pho at the source (not counting the airport), living up to the high expectation.