The 40-year-old story of Pho Thin 13 Lo Duc - best Pho in Hanoi

  • 10/12/2019

In Hanoi, you will encounter a Pho restaurant for every 100 meters. But a brand that goes beyond its own framework and make a mark with friends from all over the world, not all Pho artisans can do it!

Pho Hanoi is a long story of many generations whose has many ways of cooking, various flavors and dozens of business types. The connoisseur of Hanoi knows that to have a bowl of pho that is both greasy and beef-flavored with a little bit of pungency of onions, they must visit 13 Lo Duc. This eatery is small, but it has existed in the middle of this Capital for almost 40 years.

 Pho Thin 13 Lo Duc

Pho Thin 13 Lo Duc is one of the long-standing brands in Hanoi. Visitors who come to the Capital want to enjoy a pretigious bowl of pho, which is "promoted" by gourmets, even the most choosy and fastidious.

Experiencing many ups and downs, people are now processing pho in many recipes to attract customers, but Pho Thin still has only one recipes: half-done stir-fried beef noodles. Therefore, the brand of Pho Thin is better known as “Pho tai lan Lo Duc”

At the end of 1979, amid difficult subsidies, Mr. Nguyen Trong Thin set up a Pho restaurant on his own to support a family of 10 siblings. At that time, there were not many Pho eateries in Hanoi, but people had to mention Pho Thin Bo Ho, whose name “Thin” can be easy to challenge and puzzle both eaters and sellers.


Next to Mr. Thin's house, there was a Pho restaurant, and customers lined up incessantly. That is why his father advised his son to stop and reconsider the business. However, Mr.Thin simply thought, if the neighbor has brought guests to his door, why not try? Studying all kinds of books from East to West, combining with his accumulated life experience, Mr. Thin erect a "Pho Thin 13 Lo Duc" boardsign to sell hot Pho, which had sweet broth and slices of ginger mixed between sliced beefs.

One of the secrets to success making the famous Pho Thin is the way to make stir-fried beef, which according to Mr. Thin: “First add the oil to the hot pan. Until it reaches smoking point, I put ginger and beef to the pan and stir quickly. The beef is stir-fried briefly, so it is not too cooked and not too undercooked, just in the middle of tender richness. The key to that taste is the consistency of the cook when stir-frying the beef. In other restaurants that also sell this Pho tai lan, variance in inconsistent stir-frying process results in either chewy beef or too soft beef. Cooking this very kind of pho is not difficult, but a restaurant needs a very consistent cook.”

Pho Thin 13 Lo Duc

Pho Thin         Photo: Kenh14

Normally, people would simmer pork bones, beef bones, even chicken bones, long enough to get the most out of them. I was bolder: I chose to “color” the broth.

The broth is made according to the esoteric method that Mr. Thin learns from the ancients, adding inherent traditional spices. Thanks to that, Pho Thin has kept the most quintessential of traditional Vietnamese Pho, has created a distinctive features that it has not had a competitor for 40 years. Scallions cut into long stalks, covered with noodles, creating the fullness for the dish.

The aroma from the steaming pho bowl together with some pepper, fresh chili and lemon attractives everyone . A bowl of Pho Thin costs VND 60,000 which is quite high compared to other restaurants but everyday, both Vietnamese and foreign diners flock there to enjoy this special portion/ Those who want to enhance the taste can eat pho with crispy fried bread-stick and poached eggs. These dishes are born for each other!

From a small noodle shop that quietly sprang up next to a famous pho restaurant and only sells one type of pho, Pho Thin has been through 40 years. Now it has become a familiar name with the Hanoians and reaching out to the world. A pho restaurant was opened in Seoul with its name literally translated to “Pho Gift” – the gift of recipe from a Vietnamese because in fact, this restaurant’s formula was offered by Mr. Thin.

Pho Thin in Austraylia               Pho Thin Lo Duc is flooded in Australia Instagram

On March 9, 2019, Pho Thin in Tokyo, Japan was officially opened. Although the expected opening time was 11am, from earlier, diners had already been lining in front of the restaurant. More than 100 bowls of pho were sold in less than 1 hour, only until 11h20 AM did they sell out all the materials prepared for the first day.

Meanwhile, in the home of Pho Thin, the house at 13 Lo Duc is still busy as usual. More specifically, people talk a lot about the absence of the shop owner and Pho Thin story "traveling" to five continents. Pride and tiredness accumulated on the faces of each Pho cook. Despite being crowded and noisy; and although they sell from 5:30 am and have no time to rest, noone grimaces..

Pho Thin Lo Duc Pho has an unforgettable taste and it has entered the minds of diners for more than 4 decades. It is highly recommended that you try this amazing dish when you are in Hanoi. 

by Quynh Nhi

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