My favourite area in Hanoi is by Truc Bach lake, which is located between Hoan Kiem lake (the Old Quarter) and West lake. This neighbourhood is very peaceful and close to the tourist centre. I found a famous restaurant in this area on Vietnamese local Instagram account recommending locals’ favourite restaurants, so I visited to try their popular menus.
The restaurant is called Pho Cuon Huong Mai and the big bright green sign is easy to spot once you arrive at the street. The restaurant has seats on both side of the street and the staff outside are there to help with parking motorbikes and informing guests to go in.
Their two main dishes are phở cuốn – pho fresh spring roll and phở chiên phồng – deep fried pho. Pho cuon has fresh coriander and salad and beef. You can dip in the sweet and sour fish sauce to enjoy the delicious pho roll. If you’re not a big fan of coriander, it might be hard to take it out and I’m not sure if you can request for without because they’re made in a bunch and stored until service.
Pho chien phong literally means fried and inflated pho because of the pillow like shape. The dish comes with stir-fried pok choi (Chinese cabbage) and beef. The fried pho is crispy and yummy. This dish is not served in many or maybe even any other places, so it’s quite a unique dish you can try in this restaurant.
I tried all the menus here except chả ngan, which is grilled duck. Stir-fried pho or instant noodle here are not my favourite because the veggies and beef are quite wet and soaked. The mixed pho (phở trộn) came with more soup or sauce than other pho tron I’ve tried, so it was half-way between soup and mixed, which is usually dry. The sauce was sweet and quite refreshing and this dish would be good for a light meal along with pho cuon.
If you want to try pho cuon and pho chien phong – a very special menu unique to this restaurant, then a visit to this place can be on your list. It can be a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the Old Quarter. You can also enjoy a nice walk around this neighbourhood and go for a coffee by the West lake or at the Highlands Coffee floating on Truc Bach lake after your meal.
Phở Cuốn Hương Mai Restaurant
Address: 25 Ngũ Xã, Trúc Bạch, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Opening Hours: Everyday 09:00 – 23:00