Latest Issue

Matters of taste

The staple breakfast for the Vietnamese is noodle soup, or pho. But it's made from rice flour, and the recent price hikes are hitting the poor. Plus, Hanoi's fusion food hero

By Alex Renton   August 2008

Pho and the price of rice

Breakfast in Hanoi is best eaten on the pavement. Around five o’clock every morning, the sellers of pho (to pronounce it, say “fur” gently), Vietnam’s noodle soup, trundle their stalls by bicycle or moped through the waking streets. Usually middle-aged women, they set up on corners or in front of office doors. There they unload their fresh rice noodles, bundles of garlic greens, mint and bean sprouts, mounds of finely sliced beef or chicken, and the vat of stock—the secret of a great pho—straw gold, delicate, flavoured perhaps with star anise and cinnamon and…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect