Despite the prevalence of Vietnamese noodle shops in our city, it’s still relatively difficult to find a tasty and authentic bowl of phở (Vietnamese beef soup noodles) in Hong Kong. What appears to be a straightforward dish of rice noodles in soup actually takes strenuous effort behind the scenes – long hours of stewing beef bones and meat to make a naturally flavored broth (no MSG please!) with a subtle mix of herbs and spices, all poured over flat white rice noodles and sliced pieces of beef. Slurp up some of the best phở at one of these restaurants in town.
One of Saigon’s favorite beef phở shops was brought to Hong Kong by the Tai Hing Group in early 2017 and is conveniently located at the APM Millennium City in Kwun Tong. Phở Le has been serving “the best phở in Ho Chi Minh” (according to the Washington Post) for over 40 years. The famous noodle soup has attracted queues of phở pilgrims outside the restaurant every day. The soup is boiled for 6 hours with ox bone, beef brisket and spices – among them bay leaves, cinnamon and black cardamom. The result is a clear and tasty broth that goes perfectly with the soft noodles, sliced beef, beef balls and all-you-can-eat herbs, sprouts and lime at just $58.
Shop 19, 4/F, APM Millennium City 5, Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong, 2336-0130.
Brass Spoon opened its first shop in Wan Chai in 2015 and has since gained a massive reputation in the city. Owner and chef Sebastien Vong was born and raised in Paris, and his Vietnamese mother inherited a secret family recipe for phở which he is privy to. Chef Vong believes that the best broth can only be made by patiently simmering at least 12kg of ox bones, beef, and lots of herbs and spices for 12 hours – resulting in a clear, light-colored and multi-layer flavored broth. Go for the Premium Raw Beef Noodle ($125), Raw Beef Noodle ($88), or Cooked Brisket Noodle ($82), with options to add beef oil, onion, scallions and coriander. The beef oil is the brilliant essence that had been collected from the simmering of the soup stock. Queues are often seen outside the restaurant, but it’s definitely worth the wait for this hearty bowl.
Shop B, G/F 1-, 3 Moon Street, Wan Chai, 2877-0898.
Brought to Hong Kong by 1957 & Co., An Nam has been serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine in Hong Kong since 2013. Executive chef Lai Kam-kuen has extensive culinary experience in France, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The underlying broth of An Nam’s Phở Bo in sweet and intense – made from carrots, onions, shallots, ginger and ox bones simmered for more than 10 hours. The noodles are soft and silky, topped with selected US rib-eye slices and local beef brisket. Don’t forget to squeeze some refreshing lime juice and add condiments of chili, bean sprouts, basil and coriander for additional flavor. You can enjoy the Phở đặc biệt (Signature combo rice noodle soup) for $138 and a Phở Bo (beef rice noodle soup) for $108 at An Nam.
4/F, Lee Garden One, 33 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, 2787-3922.
Located inside the Royal Garden Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui East, Le Soleil has always been regarded as one of the city’s best Vietnamese restaurants since its opening in 1993. Native Vietnamese chef Do Thi Thuy Linh – born and raised in Haiphong, Hanoi in Vietnam — proudly showcases her Northern Vietnamese recipe for phở. The beef broth has a delicate balance of flavors – boiled with 30kg of beef shin bones, 10kg of pork bones, and mixed with onions, ginger, star anise, fish sauce and rock sugar for two days. You’ll drool over the fragrant bowl of noodles combined with sliced rib-eye beef, beef brisket, beef tendon, and beef balls at a price of $138.
3/F Royal Garden Hotel, 69 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui East, 2733-2033.
The two owners of Phở 778 returned to Hong Kong from Vancouver and brought with them the Canadian flavors of Vietnamese noodles (Canada apparently has really good phở, due to the big Vietnamese community that lives there). The brown-colored soup has a stronger taste of herbs and spices from slow-cooking the soup stock for 20 hours. You’ll find instructions of “How to Enjoy Phở” on the menu – take a whiff of the fragrant broth and savor a spoonful of it, then add some chili and sriracha sauce for measure. The iconic Canadian-style raw US Angus beef and beef brisket phở is very reasonably priced at $48 for a regular portion. (Note: 778 is the Area Code of Vancouver).
Shop F, G/F, Pao Woo Mansion, 177-179 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, 2877-2223.
Fûhn is another North American-style Saigon noodle restaurant. This newly opened restaurant in Causeway Bay is constantly packed with phở lovers. Besides the long preparation of slow-cooking the soup using ox bone, beef and spices, Fûhn uses water filtered by a superior filtering system that is believed to make a tastier broth. If you’re fond of herbs with your phở, simply ask the friendly staff and you’ll be presented with an herb tree cup. The phở comes in three sizes: regular, large and extra large. A must-try is the house special beef fûhn that comes with beef balls, US Angus raw beef, beef tendon, beef brisket, and shredded tripe ($98). The rare beef fuhn for $58 is equally satisfying.
1/F, The L. Square, 459-461 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, 2219-8328.
Founded by Australia-born Vietnamese celebrity chef Luke Nguyen — whom you may have seen on travel and cooking TV programs — Moi Moi offers contemporary Vietnamese cuisine with a French twist. A limited number of wagyu beef phở is only served at lunch. Moi Moi takes pride in its soup stock recipe (MSG is never considered in their formula) — which is boiled with ox bone, beef brisket, and beef tendon and perfumed with spices including coriander seed, fennel seed, star anise, and cinnamon cassia bar for 18 hours. The meaty broth is clear and brown in color, with an incredible flavor of beef and intense taste of spices but without a film of oil on top. Slices of top-grade wagyu beef as well as soft and tender beef brisket slices are placed on top of the silky noodles. The premium bowl comes at a pretty price – the lunch set is at $168 for an appetizer, a main course (like the wagyu beef phở), and a drink.
G/F, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road Central, Central, 2808-1086.