Phở Xào Bà Thanh Béo - Gastro Obscura

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Gastro Obscura

Phở Xào Bà Thanh Béo

Order your phở stir-fried, sans soup.  

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Longtime phở aficionados may know that the word “phở” not only refers to the composed noodle soup, but also the flat rice stick noodles—or bánh phở—that are used in the dish. These noodles, which are similar to those used in pad Thai, can be leveraged in numerous ways. For this beloved street vendor in Hanoi, they form the base of phở xào, or stir-fried phở.

While there are many different versions of stir-fried phở, this eatery has been offering some of Hanoi’s finest for over a decade. It’s made by tossing the rice noodles with leafy, crunchy yu choy and the same thinly-sliced beef typically used in the soup version. All of the preparation takes place on a giant wok placed right on the sidewalk, adding an element of theater and showmanship to the dish. 

The dish is served with a bowl of prepared fish sauce. You can either dip each bite of meat into the bowl, or pour the whole thing over your stir-fried phở. For an alternative dipping condiment for your meat, you can squeeze fresh lime juice over a ramekin of salt and pepper. 

Unlike many other Hanoian street food specialties, which are considered morning or daytime foods, the heartier wok-fried phở is served from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.—considered late night by Vietnamese standards. Indeed, it’s the perfect post-drinking food once you’ve been enjoying the cheap, plentiful local draught beer, called bia hơi. For purists, they also have a standard phở noodle soup available. 

Know Before You Go

Since this dish is on the extra savory side, refresh your palate with some of the house iced tea. 

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November 3, 2023

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