What’s cooking in Vietnam?
Chicken Pho (Vietnamese Noodle soup)
Nhung is from Haiduong, near the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. Nhung is married to a Swiss and moved to Switzerland in 2015. Nhung likes living in Switzerland. She loves the culture and the fact that the country is very clean. She does miss Vietnam and goes back regularly. She misses her friends, the weather and the food! Nhung is a very experienced cook as she already started cooking by herself at the age of 6! When she was so little, she asked her neighbor for help on how to cook the rice and vegetables. At that time, Vietnam was still quite poor, and so they almost only had meat or fish to eat when they had guests or for the New Year celebration. Nhung has always continued cooking, and says: ‘I learned cooking by my mistakes in the kitchen. I made a million mistakes, but gained a billion experience!’
In Switzerland, Nhung went to a market in Lausanne and saw food trucks from various countries there, but not from Vietnam. And so Nhung started dreaming of having her own food truck, so that she could introduce Vietnamese food to people here. Now, this dream has become reality as Nhung owns her own food truck ‘Esprit du Vietnam’ which you can find in the village of Grens in Vaud on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (17:30 – 19:00) and on Wednesdays (11:30-13:00). Go check out her food truck if you are in the area!
What Nhung says about Vietnam and its cuisine
Vietnam is a beautiful country with a 3.400 km long coastline, and so a lot of dishes are with seafood. Vietnamese food is healthy and tasty and the Vietnamese street food culture is known worldwide. Nhung masters the recipe she shares with us, as she worked in a small Pho restaurant when she was 16. She has since then adapted her recipes to her own taste. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup with meat (chicken or beef). Chicken Pho is easy to make and fast, but Beef Pho is more complicated, as it has to cook for hours.
Chicken Pho recipe
Cooking time: 2 hours
Ingredients for 4 persons:
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 big bulb of ginger, split in 2 parts. Grill 1 part and crush the other part
- 2 scallions, cut into pieces and fried
- 4 dry onions, 2 go into the soup as a whole, 2 chopped up for the salad
- 2 chicken stock cubes
- 1 red chili
- 1 table spoon of chopped up garlic
- 4 table spoons of fish sauce
- 1 table spoon of sugar
- 2 lemons
- Vietnamese coriander. I used the regular one, but better would be the Vietnamese one which you can find in Asian shops and which looks like this:
- 1 pack of thin rice noodles
How to proceed:
- Put the chicken into your largest soup pot, with 5 liters of water.
- Fry half of the ginger, and the scallions.
- Add them to the pot.
- Peel off the skin of the 2 dry onions and add them to the pot as well. No need to cut them, it is for taste.
- Once the soup boils, you take off the cover and turn to low heat.
- After one hour of cooking, you add the 2 stock cubes.
- Cook for about a half an hour more, and then take out the chicken and shred it. The meat should be very tender and come off the bones easily. You then put the bones back into the pot to continue giving taste to your bouillon. You cook it at least for another half hour while you prepare the rest.
- Cut your 2 dry onions, the chili, garlic and coriander.
- Squeeze the juice out of the 2 lemons and mix it with a teaspoon of pepper, a table spoon of garlic, the fish sauce, the sugar, and a teaspoon of salt.
- Add this to the shredded chicken and mix it all well with your hands.
- Add your chopped onions and continue to mix.
- Add the coriander and mix again.
- And then the pieces of chili, and mix again.
- Prepare your noodles with warm water as indicated on the packaging.
- You are now ready to assemble your Chicken Pho.
- In a bowl, first add the noodles, then add the salad with the chicken, and finally, pour the bouillon on top of it.
Thank you so much Nhung for sharing this recipe with us! We found it easy to make, and healthy with the fresh salad! If you are near Grens, make sure to go and taste Nhung’s other dishes that she sells in her Food Truck ‘Esprit du Vietnam’.