My last blog entry about our Hanoi trip was written and published last April 22! 3 months ago! Where have I been?! Let’s just say… I’ve been busy. But that’s another story for another time.
Meanwhile… let me pick things up from our last stop, which was the Temple of Literature. It was time for lunch and our student tour guides from Hanoi Ebuddies – Huyen and Phuong – took us to a restaurant in the Ba Dinh area called Pho Cuon 31.
Phuo Con 31 was a small and simple 2-storey restaurant that serves a variety of authentic Vietnamese dishes, including its specialty, the Pho Cuon, which is a popular street food sold in Hanoi, most especially in the area surrounding the Truc Bach Lake.
What exactly is a Pho Cuon? Well, I assume that you’re familiar with Pho, which is the well-known Vietnamese noodle soup. Pho Cuon is the rolled up version of the Pho sans the soup. Simply put, Pho Cuon are fresh rice noodle rolls stuffed with sliced beef strips, and fresh herbs and vegetables, usually cilantro and lettuce.
Pho Cuon (VND 50.00 / PHP 111)
Between the Pho and the Pho Cuon, I have to admit that I still prefer the former. Nothing quite like a hot and hearty bowl of delicious Vietnamese noodles! But the Pho Cuon is also very tasty and interesting in its own way, and is worth trying if you have the chance. The Pho is best eaten during colder days while the Pho Cuon is a nice summertime snack.
The best way to eat it is to dip in a bowl of Nuoc Cham, a spicy-sweet sauce of vinegar, fish sauce, chili, sugar, and lime juice mixed with radish and chopped chilies. The exotic sauce makes such a huge difference!
We also had the Pho Ran Trung (seriously, how many phos are there?). While the Pho Cuon is the healthier option, the Pho Ran Trung is the evil, oily, and deep-fried option… which only means that it’s actually good! It’s a big plate of overflowing crispy fried rice noodles with egg topped with beef and – to make it a teensy bit healthier – vegetables.
Pho Ran Trung (VND 55,000 – 65,000 / PHP 123 – 145)
It’s certainly a colorful dish, generously loaded with a mishmash of flavors and textures. My first thought was, “Okay, how do we eat this?” Well, first, you mix it, making sure that the ingredients are evenly distributed, then you dig in! Though it wasn’t my favorite dish in Hanoi, I thought it was quite fun to eat.
Is this restaurant worth visiting?
Yes, if you are in the Truc Bach Lake area. Otherwise, it’s quite far from the Old Quarter (where most of the action is). According to Huyen, the prices of the food in this area are cheaper than the eateries in the Old Quarter, though, really, everything in Hanoi — including and most especially the food — is so cheap! This area is a lot quieter though, in contrast to the chaotic streets of the Old Quarter.
In my opinion, Pho Cuon is not the best restaurant I’ve tried in Hanoi. I only stayed for 4 days, so I can’t really say that I’ve tried a lot, but I wouldn’t put Pho Cuon on the top of my list. The food is good and cheap, but I’ve had better. Still, it was a nice and different experience, and I’m glad we stopped by here for lunch and discovered the many kinds of Pho!
Pho Cuon 31
Address: 31 Ngu Xa, Ba Dinh, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
Phone: +84 97 272 31 31
More stories from our Hanoi trip on: #PuffAndFluffHANOImoon