5 Best Places for Pho in Vancouver
Montecristo Magazine | By Justin Saint
Vancouverites are in love with pho. Especially during the rainy season, what better to slurp than a soothing bowl of steaming broth, with aromatic herbs, tender beef, and chewy rice noodles?
The first step is to deeply inhale the scent of the broth as soon as the bowl is set down in front of you. The smell and taste of a good bowl of pho reveals the personality of the dish and its cook, setting the tone for the rest of your meal.
While most of us may be familiar with the southern style of pho, the dish actually found its origins in the northern Vietnamese village of Văn Cú. Street food vendors boiled beef bones with local ingredients such as star anise, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, and fish sauce to produce a clear, nutritious broth for noodle soup that quickly gained popularity. As the dish was shared throughout the country, southern chefs added more ingredients, including ginger and onion (slightly charred to release the sugars) to produce a sweeter, more robust flavour.
As it was adopted into local cuisines all over the world, many different varieties have since emerged. And many of them can be found in Vancouver—if you know where to look.
Anh and Chi
Photo by Ben Nelms/Courtesy of Anh and Chi.
Nestled between Main and E 18th Ave, Anh and Chi (which means brother and sister) is the place to go for a pho experience that is uniquely Vancouver. Their phở hoàng broth knows exactly which taste buds to hit, its noodles stay thick and firm, and chunks of sirloin in the soup offer the unexpected sensation of eating a really juicy steak. Add a handful of bean sprouts for added texture—immersed immediately in the liquid for soft sprouts or added on top if you want some crunch in your pho. Condiments such as a splash of lime, strips of basil leaves, and spicy slices of pepper add layers of subtle flavour that blend into the broth. Another treat is the Cay Me salad roll, which is particularly refreshing thanks to ingredients such as toasted coconut and jicama. Complete your meal with a Coconuts And Dreams cocktail—the freshness of coconut is paired with tart green mango juice, an ingredient rarely seen in Vancouver cuisine.