A Easy and Tasty Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup
Updated: Apr 15
I had one the best Pho Ga on the streets of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) city. Before we left to Saigon, we asked several friends of Vietnamese heritage advice for the non-speaking Vietnamese tourists such as myself and my partner. Mainly, we asked about the food, obviously. We were told about an amazing place by the Notre Dame Cathedral that served amazing BBQ Duck Tongue and BBQ Chicken Feet. They thought it might not be for us since it was one of those hole in the wall places with the bare minimum dining experience. But that was exactly what we were expecting and looking for in Vietnam. We were not looking for a clean fancy place, but the good street food, where the locals eat. But the downside is that most restaurants do not have restaurant names visible, nor are they easy to find on the internet. Most restaurants visible on the web are the clean restaurants meant for tourists, found on TripAdvisor. (we tried two highly rated restaurants from TripAdvisor, and were greatly disappointed)
On our first day in Saigon, we roamed down the street from our hotel and happened to spot a street stall type restaurant. There was a giant pot boiling on top of a charcoal stove on the sidewalk.
There’s ice in our Beer! Most places in Vietnam serve beer this way, because of the lack of available refrigeration
Let it be known that we came to this place twice a day the entire week we stayed in Saigon.
After a day of touring the city, we happen to go to Notre Dame Cathedral. It just so happens that Notre Dame Cathedral is right by our hotel, and the restaurant our friends mentioned was the one we had been going to the whole time. That evening we went back to try the BBQ Wings and BBQ Gizzards (duck tongue and chicken feet were sold out) Even so, they were delicious!!! We were not disappointed!
After having pho in Vietnam, it was hard to go back to the Vancouver Pho, but I do admit, we have it pretty good. The pho in Vancouver is pretty comparable, and probably cleaner.
For those who don’t know you may be wondering what this pho is..Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup. The noodles are linguine-shaped rice noodles called banh pho. It is served in broth that is stewed with various aromatics. Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam. Pho Ga is Vietnamese noodle soup that is Chicken based, Ga means Chicken.
What better way to battle a cold? Chicken soup has long been known as a comforting folk medicine to treat common cold symptoms. It is believed to sooth your cold symptoms making you feel better and energized. I always crave some clear soup when I’m feeling under the weather or on those cold winter evenings. This is the perfect recipe for that. If your looking for a different type of Chicken Noodle soup, this is the one for you.
Chicken Noodle - Pho Ga
3lb Chicken Legs (3 lb Free Range Chicken), rinsed with cold water 2lb Chicken Bones, rinsed with cold water 2 Tablespoon Fish Sauce 2 1/2 Teaspoon Salt, or to taste 4 Quarts Water
Spice Bag: 100 Grams Ginger 2 Onions 2 Cloves Garlic 2 Teaspoon Coriander Seeds, crushed 1 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds, crushed 3 Cloves, crushed 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper, crushed 1 Star Anise 1 Cinnamon Stick 20 grams Rock Sugar 1 Bundle – Cilantro Stems 5 Grams Kaffir Leaves
Serve with: 1/3 Cup Fried Shallots or Caramelized Shallots – Optional Dried Rice Noodles Cilantro Tops, roughly chopped Green Onions, roughly diced 4 Kaffir Leaves, sliced into threads 1 Lime, Cut up into Eighths
Optional: 1 Teaspoon Salt 1 Teaspoon Pepper Hoisin Sauce Sriracha Mint Basil Bean Sprouts
Preheat the oven to broil. Add the ginger and 2 onions to a baking sheet. Optionally- Add the chicken bones and chicken to the sheet as well. Do this step if you like the roasted flavour in the broth. Roast everything for 20 minutes until browned.
Meanwhile, prepare the spices and other ingredients. Add the spices to the spice bag. Remove the baking sheet from the oven after the 20 minutes. The onions, ginger, and meat should be well roasted.
Roughly chop the ginger, and then add the onions and ginger to the prepared spice bag. Secure the bag with butchers twine.
Add the chicken, chicken bones, and the secured spice bag into a pot filled with 3.5 litres of water.
Bring to a boil and occasionally skim off the foam as soon as it rises to the top. Lower the heat to a slow simmer and allow to simmer for 75 minutes.
Next, remove the chicken and bones from the pot and allow to cool. Then debone and slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. (Discard the bones) Prepare the other toppings to serve with: diced green onions, wedge lime, fried onions, rough chop cilantro.
Then start seasoning the broth. Add fish sauce, and salt to taste – adjust the flavour accordingly.
Cook the noodles according to package instructions. When the noodles are ready, strain and divide amongst four bowls.
Top the noodles with broth and then with chicken, kaffir leaf threads, green onions, cilantro, fried shallots, and a sprinkle of black pepper. It’s ready to be served! I eat my pho with a squeeze of lime, and Muoi Tieu Chanh to eat with my chicken. Muoi Tieu Chanh is a pungent, salty, and tarty sauce that brightens flavours instantly. It’s easy to make. I made mine with 1 Teaspoon Salt, 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper, 1 kaffir leaves (sliced in threads), and a squeeze of lime. Adjust the flavour to your liking.