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Two-in-one dried pho, Gia Lai province's unique dish

June 07, 2021 | 14:22

With its unique flavors, Gia Lai province’s “two-in-one” dried pho attracts tourists at first glance.

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Pho is one of the most popular dishes in Vietnamese cuisine. In Vietnam, each locality has its own way of preparing pho, putting its stamp on the iconic dish.

Gia Lai’s famous dried pho is prepared and served completely differently from pho served with broth, sauteed pho, fried pho, or pho rolls. Instead of putting all ingredients in a bowl or on a dish, Gia Lai locals serve pho in two separate bowls: One bowl with the pho and toppings, and the other with the broth (nước lèo).

Two-in-one dried pho, Gia Lai province's unique dish
Dried pho is a popular dish in Gia Lai / Dantri

Gia Lai’s dried pho is complicated to prepare. According to locals, the noodles used to make dried pho are made completely from rice powder.

After being washed, rice is soaked in water and ground finely. The chef then turns the rice mixture into large pieces of pho, before using a special machine to cut them into thin, even threads. At first glance, the noodles used in Gia Lai’s dried pho resemble the noodles used for hu tieu, a typical dish in Southern Vietnam that contains broth, rice noodles, herbs, meat, eggs, and shrimp. However, dried pho noodles are smaller with a chewier texture.

Two-in-one dried pho, Gia Lai province's unique dish
Because Gia Lai’s dried pho is made completely from rice powder, the noodles are chewy without getting sticky or soft / Dantri

When the customers make the order, the chef will blanch dried pho noodles in boiled water and remove excess water to keep them from getting soggy.

Gia Lai’s dried pho is served with a wide variety of toppings, and customers can choose between chicken, beef, or a mixture of both.

For dried pho with chicken, the cook shreds the protein finely and place it on top of the noodles with some minced pork, sautéed pork scratchings and fried shallots. To make dried pho with beef, the chef put rare beef and beef balls in the broth bowl, but not in the dried pho bowl.

Two-in-one dried pho, Gia Lai province's unique dish
A portion of Gia Lai’s dried pho consists of one bowl of dried pho, one bowl of broth, accompanied by one small bowl of dipping sauce and a dish of fresh herbs and vegetables/ Dantri

If ordering a bowl of dried pho with mixed toppings, customers will get two bowls; a dried pho bowl with shredded chicken and minced pork, and a bowl of broth with beef. Pho and broth are put in separate bowls so customers can adjust the dish to their liking.

The dipping sauce is another component that makes Gia Lai’s dried pho unique. Instead of using fish sauce, the chef makes the dipping sauce for dried pho using soybeans with brown sugar and/or soy sauce.

Two-in-one dried pho, Gia Lai province's unique dish
Gia Lai’s dried pho is served with black dipping sauce, bringing unique taste to the dish /Dantri

To eat dried pho, customers need to mix pho with herbs, beansprout, and dipping sauce together. Customers will feel all flavors coming together perfectly when they taste the noodles that still retain the refreshing flavor of rice powder, adorned by the richness of the protein, flavorful dipping sauce, fresh herbs and vegetables, and a hot delicious bowl of broth.

Dried pho is served in many localities, but nowhere is it as delicious as in Gia Lai. In Pleiku city of Gia Lai province, tourists can find this delectable dish in many food stalls and restaurants, notably Ngoc Son (located at 15 Nguyen Thai Hoc street), Hong (located at 22 Nguyen Van Troi street), Tau Ly (located at 108 Doan Thi Diem street) and Be Tu (located at 45 Ba Trieu street).

Each bowl of dried pho costs from VND 30,000 to VND 50,000, depending on the amount of beef or chicken.

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