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Feb 4, 2012 09:26 AM

Northern Vietnam style pho

Can anyone direct me to some good Northern Vietnam style pho? My father-in-law is in town and would love to try some. Seems like Cong Ly Restaurant in Chinatown or Thanh Da in Sunset Park might fit the bill. I'll also post to the Outer Boroughs board. Thanks for your help.

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  1. The only real difference between Northern & Southern phos is, IIRC, the noodles are slightly wider in the North - though from what I hear not really enough to make a noticeable difference - and they use different garnishes - i.e. up North you'll find scallions, in the South basil, a few other minor differences like that. Otherwise the broth is pretty much the same.

    So, that said, it's really just a question of which one makes the broth you like best. Cong Ly has a lot of fans, myself included - Pho Grand is also solid, with a more festive / less hole-in-the-wall vibe. They're my two go-tos for Pho.

    Cong Ly
    124 Hester St, New York, NY 10002

    Pho Grand
    277 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

    3 Replies
    1. re: sgordon

      Thanks. We ate at Cong Ly (and snacked at a few other nearby places). No Pho expert here, but we all thought it was very good. He was looking to find Northern-style b/c he believes most is Southern style and the differences were described in a book he recently read. The book also mentioned the broth being sweeter in the south. we asked the waiter, his English wasn't great but he said both there is no difference in styles and that this was southern style...oh well. As is said, we all enjoyed it. Here's a CH link I found on differences:

      1. re: uncledunkel

        My only experience with northern style pho is at Turtle Tower in SF's tenderloin, and as sgordon says the garnishes are definitely different (white onions? sure. basil and other herbs? nope.) I can't say if it is due to the specifically Hanoi style of their pho, or just because of superior pho-ing skills, but they make a damn good bowl of soup.

        That said, in the absence of teleporters, I like Cong Ly the most of the nyc options, regardless of style. If anyone can recommend a northern style place that is as good or better id love to hear it, but id imagine that well done southern style is going to be better than so so northern.

        Cong Ly
        124 Hester St, New York, NY 10002

      2. re: sgordon

        I'm no pho expert, either, but I think northern style pho tends to be based on a lighter clearer, less sweet broth, and served without herbs (culantro, basil).

        IIRC Cong Ly's is a southern style pho with a dark, sweet broth heavy on the star anise.