Phở Gà Chicken Soup – 22 of 365

Gummichicken in all its gristly glory should have instilled in me a valuable food lesson…Do not order the chicken!!   Why couldn’t I remember this when I returned to Phở Bắc Hải Hà Nội where my friends Ryan and Melissa had introduced me to an honest bowl of great soup in our ‘hood?  This joint at 111 Nguyen Huu Canh, a very short walk past the chain store offerings in my apartment tower, is the home of some of the better phở served up in a natural element.  What better place to give the chicken version, phở gà, a try than here.

Of course a roasted chicken hanging not so innocuously in a metal pushcart certainly gives one pause about ordering the gà version of phở.  Well, at least they can’t hang a smoked water buffalo in the window to turn me off the beef version.  Or can they?  This is Vietnam after all where to my delight anything and everything is thrown right in our faces.  This fowl reminder of my meal yet to even come had already tainted this food jury.  The owner took a bare handed heap of chicken out of a nearby bowl and his cleaver showed whatever part that had been who’s the top of this joint’s food chain.

Bone in and skin on reign supreme here in these parts,  and various pieces swam in my oversize white bowl of broth, rice noodles and green herbs.  A deliciously subtle hint of cumin even flavored the phở this day, but try as I might I just couldn’t will the chicken parts away.  And you know that bumpy texture of the yellow skin?  No way was I about to eat my way past that prickly layer of boiled rubber.   The owner is probably thinking what a moron this dude is picking at the soup, and who the hell is stupid enough to bequeath that tasty chicken to the rubbish bin.   Truth be told, I’ve just about lost all in interest in chicken over here.  Let people talk about my “peculiar” tastes.

A Little Too Much For Me

Phở Bắc Hải Hà Nội loosely translates as Noodle Soup Made in the Northern Hanoi Custom.  Having lived a year and a half in Hanoi, the familiar bắc hải is very palatable to me and my preferred way of slurping down some phở.  But perhaps other parts of Vietnam tender a more palatable western friendly version of yard bird.   I will squat on the tiny stool all day long eating the tasty beef noodle, phở bò, version here at this great little soup stand.  The chicken?  Well, not so much.  Look at it this way.  That just leaves more for my Vietnamese friends to enjoy.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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