Vietnamese street food : Pho ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup)

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Phở ga (chicken) is a variation of one of Vietnam’s famous and most exported dishes phở bo – Beef noodle soup.

There are distinctions between the dishes and it’s not as simple as just a substitution of proteins.

To begin with, the chicken phở broth is much lighter than the beef broth. The end result tends to have less colour depth, too.
phở with beef, utilises strong aromatic flavours such as star anise and and cloves to make the broth so flavourful, whereas the chicken version focuses on ginger, coriander (seed and leaf) and fish sauce to intensify the chicken broth. It makes sense, the flavours better coexist together.

Street side Pho Ga
Photo sourced from Flickr via a Creative Commons License, no modifications made. Thanks, Jonathan Lin 

Fixings are similar, for both dishes the meat is served with banh phở the specific type of noodles for phở, – they are different from mien noodles, or bún noodles which are used in other Vietnamese dishes – with some thinly sliced onion and lime segments. Chicken phở is finished with thinly sliced lime leaf and coriander leaves.

It has a much softer taste than it’s beefy compatriot and with a squeeze of fresh lime and a dollop of chilli sauce is just as good a flavour hit as the beef.
My only fault is that the chicken will, invariably contain bones and lumps of cartilage but the silver lining to that same dark cloud is that the chicken phở has skin and gelatinous chicken meat. – Delicious texture & flavour!

Chao Ga breadsticks
It can, like many Vietnamese soups be accompanied by quay – the Chinese deep fried doughnuts also known as youtiao or crullers.

Expect to pay around 30-50’000VND per bowl.

Some useful phrases

Sin chow – hello
Mot – one
Hai – two
Gam urn – thank you
Tra da – iced tea, a popular and cheap drink to accompany meals and usually available at hole in the wall restaurants

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Thai street food : Muu ping & khao niao (grilled pork skewers & sticky rice)

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Street food opportunities are abundant in Thailand, with carts and pop up street restaurants everywhere. When the cover of night falls, plastic chairs are whipped out in front of closed shops, people drink, eat and socialise on the street.

Like many of my favoured Thai meals, muu ping (grilled pork) & khao niao (sticky rice)  is from the northeastern area of Isaan.
Sticky rice is eaten as a staple in Isaan and across the border into Laos, a handheld carbohydrate, eaten with the right hand to accompany meats and mop up dips and sauces.

The fatty slices of pork meat are marinated and grilled over coal, often on a streetside barbecue. The resulting pork is sweet, juicy and full of flavour – the perfect hand held meal, a stick of delicious glazed pork in one hand and a bag of sticky rice in the other.

A market stall selling grilled meats and fish

A market stall selling grilled meats and fish

Food markets and street vendors sell muu ping & khao niao all over the country, expect to pay from around ten baht per stick – more in Bangkok – and around five baht for a bag of sticky rice.  Cheap AND delicious!

Some useful words

Neung – one
Sawng – two
Aroy – delicious
Sai tung – take away (put in a bag)
Pai sed – special, as in the large size in at a foodcourt.
Tow rai? – how much

 

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