Originally published by Sophie Pettit. Last updated by Jen Paolini.
Whether you’re a phở-natic, or just craving a delicious bowl of the good stuff to warm you up, finding a decent bowl in Hong Kong can be a real challenge. Fatty meat, greasy broth, and flavourless toppings can ruin the whole experience and put you right off this cherished Vietnamese dish. So to save you the disappointment, we’ve slurped our way around the city to find you the best bowls that will make you fall in love with phở all over again. The best part? Most of these restaurants have more than one outlet, so choose a favourite and indulge in the best phở in Hong Kong anywhere, anytime!
Possibly the newest addition to the phở scene in Hong Kong, Golden Branch is our best-kept noodle secret. Casual phở eaters probably won’t want to make the trip out to Happy Valley to indulge in a mouth-watering bowl of premium raw beef phở ($118), but true phở-natics will appreciate the rich aromas and pure flavours of what’s on offer.
When we’re feeling particularly hangry, we size up and go for the deluxe combo phở ($128), which settles our cravings with Vietnamese ham, juicy beef balls, U.S. raw beef, and all of the regular coriander, scallions, lime, and diced chilli fixings. This casual 12-seat restaurant gets packed on weekends, so it’s best to make your way over here early if you’re trying to grab a belly-warming dinner.
Golden Branch, G/F, 49–51A Sing Woo Road, Happy Valley | (+852) 2386 2898
Walking by this easy-going phở restaurant on Wellington Street (perhaps, ironically, on your way to Bêp), almost nothing on the exterior would alert you to the fact that it was opened by Hong Kong’s most eminent food critic, Chua Lam. His reputation as one of Asia’s premier food critics precedes him and lent his very first restaurant opening in Hong Kong an instant allure, but we all know that this sort of buzz wouldn’t last long if the product doesn’t hold up.
Fortunately, many dishes at Chua Lam’s Phở are worth the visit, the special beef phở ($128) above all. It comes with six different cuts of beef (raw sliced beef, shank, brisket, tendons, beef balls, and tripe) in a flavourful, aromatic broth, and you can get free noodle refills, too! Knock back an iced Vietnamese coffee ($29) with your meal for the full experience. Best of all, the dishes at Chua Lam’s Phở are affordable. Quality-wise, we’d expect nothing less from an owner who frequently cites phở amongst one of his all-time favourite foods.
Chua Lam’s Phở, UG/F, Kailey Tower, 15–25 Wellington Street, Central | (+852) 2325 9117
At Phở.dle.bar, the menu is straightforward, making all your decision-making dilemmas go bye-bye. Choose from four different kinds of soup noodle bowls, including thin-sliced beef phở ($84), beef shank phở ($84), beef short rib phở ($128), and shredded chicken & Vietnamese ham phở ($80) if you’re feeling a little adventurous.
The piping hot soups and nourishing noodles served at this contemporary Vietnamese eatery, topped with plenty of authentic herbs and spices, will have you slurping until the last bite before you make your way over to the cinema to follow up with a visual treat.
Phở.dle.bar, Shop 2132, 2/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2196 8175
Prime Phở’s prime location on Lyndhurst Terrace makes it a great little spot to drop into for a quick pho fix. Their signature beef brisket phở ($88) is well-beloved amongst lunch regulars for good reason; the soup is rich but smooth on the palate, and the beef is cooked until soft and tender. For more variety and textures in your bowl, the prime phở ($108) does the trick, replete with six different cuts of beef and ox, as well as Vietnamese sausage and radish. Make sure to come hungry!
Prime Phở, Shop 10, 1/F, H18 Conet, 23 Graham Street, Central | (+852) 2562 2392
Not to be confused with another Vietnamese restaurant with the same name, this An Nam specialises in hot soup noodles and cold noodle dishes. You can’t go wrong with their classic Vietnamese raw beef phở ($55), considering it’s such a steal, especially as part of a weekday lunch set. We also love their raw beef & beef ball phở ($55) with its bouncy beef balls bursting with juice and flavour.
An Nam Phở, Shop 208–209, 2/F, Tai Yau Plaza, 181 Johnston Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 2815 8811
With its chic, street café-style interior, four prime locations, and seven varieties of phở alone, it’s no surprise that Bêp Vietnamese Kitchen has remained a firm favourite with phở lovers since it opened its doors in the city. There’s a good reason for the queues at lunch and dinnertime—the broth is incredible, if not the best in the city.
So what’s the secret? Well, the beef bone and brisket soup base is simmered for hours, before chicken and pork bone is added to achieve several layers of flavour, along with a hint of star anise, cinnamon, and dried fruit peel. Aside from the heavenly broth, the toppings here are strikingly fresh and bursting with flavour, adding depth to every slurp. At $78 for the classic phở tái (with thinly-sliced sirloin) and $98 for the phở filet Hànội (with hand-chopped filet mignon), this is an absolute steal and worth every dollar.
A popular lunch spot with shoppers and office workers in the bustling Causeway Bay district, Nha Trang in Times Square is often filled to the brim with those looking to slurp on a big bowl of phở or the restaurant’s popular house specials. There are a whopping 10 variations of phở to choose from in this spacious eatery, and whether you choose beef slices or a mixture of brisket with beef slices, chicken, or chicken and beef, you certainly won’t be disappointed.
While the broth is beautifully balanced and not too rich in flavour, the side dish of bean sprouts, coriander, lime, and chilli is large enough to last you the entire meal, which is also hearty in the size department. Ranging from $70 to $88 for the prime filet mignon phở, this is a very reasonable option given the quality of meat and popularity of the restaurant. There are also six other branches to choose from.
What Bún Chả lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in flavour. Perched on the side of sloping Aberdeen Street (amongst other locations) and seating only around 20 customers at a time, this unassuming restaurant manages to encapsulate the authentic feel of a local Vietnamese eatery—with delicious phở to match.
There are seven varieties to choose from, ranging from beef, pork neck, chicken, or Vietnamese salami. The phở bò ($75), with thin-sliced sirloin cooked medium rare, remains the bestseller, due to the quality of the tender meat and the clean and fresh-tasting broth. If you want to add a kick to your phở, opt for the phở Hànội ($80) with fresh ginger.
While the phở at Cóm Bánh Mì is slightly smaller than the servings in other restaurants in the city, it still deserves a spot on our list—especially if you have a liking for salty flavours. The broth here is a little heavier than usual, which is just as well given the modest portion size, and with only chicken or beef to choose from, it’s a great option if you’re in need of a quick and dirty phở fix.
This small, casual eatery likes to keep things simple, which perhaps explains its first-come, first-serve and no-reservations policy, so make sure you avoid the lunch crowd, as the place fills up fast. This should be no surprise, given the amazing set lunch menu on offer—where you get to enjoy beef or chicken phở with a side of chicken wings, papaya salad, spring rolls, or rice paper rolls, and a drink for a piddly $80. Race you there!
Cóm Bánh Mì, 28 Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai | (+852) 2528 9131
Hidden away in “the lanes” (also known as Li Yuen Street West in Central), Phở Bar serves up tasty noodles to customers seated along a narrow bar, where you get to watch it being prepared. If you’re fussy about your phở, then this is your ideal spot, as you not only get to choose what meat goes into the broth, but also the type of noodles, condiments, and additional toppings (which cost $20 each).
If you want to keep things simple, however, opt for the bestselling medium-rare US selected beef phở ($85) with traditional flat rice noodles and the usual garnishes. Whatever you go for, you can expect a rich and satisfying broth with a depth of flavour that will keep you coming back for more.
Pho Bar, 24 Li Yuen Street West, Central | (+852) 2109 2028
Another great option for those who prefer to customise their soup noodles, Brass Spoon allows you to select your own meat, ingredients, and additional toppings (which range from $8 to $25 each). Fair warning: this isn’t the cheapest bowl in town, with the raw beef phở clocking in at $90 (and before you’ve even added any extras), but the quality of the beef and well-balanced flavour of the broth make it worth a try.
The casual and stylish setting is also alluring, with wooden flooring, marble tabletops, and bare lighting fixtures giving it a contemporary, hipster vibe. If you prefer dining in a more spacious venue, then stick with the Central branch, where you can either sit at a large communal table in the centre or along the bar. The Wan Chai and Quarry Bay outlets, on the other hand, fill up fast come lunchtime.
Not to be confused with the other An Nam that is also on this list, this restaurant is located in upscale Lee Gardens, and it has the luxurious feel to match. Fortunately, their prices are affordable for most wallets, and the traditional phở bò ($118), with its thinly-sliced beef and flat rice noodles in a rich beef broth, is highly recommended here.
If the heavy fragrance of meat just isn’t doing it for you today, opt for the phở bò kho ($118), where you’ll find yourself digging into braised beef brisket and noodles in a hearty tomato soup. Make sure to snag a seat around the balcony area just underneath the skylight for the most aesthetic experience.
An Nam, 4/F, Lee Garden One, 33 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2787 3922
We have not heard a peep from Australian-Vietnamese celebrity chef Luke Nguyen since he opened up discreet little Moi Moi in the space that used to be occupied by a former favourite, Viet Kitchen, but we like to dip in now and then for a taste of their raw Wagyu beef phở ($118). Served with the standard fixings of sliced onions, sweet basil, scallions, and bean sprouts in a sumptuous beef broth, this perfectly-executed dish brings together years of Chef Luke’s cooking experience and immersive travels to his ancestral homeland, all in one piping hot package.
Moi Moi, G/F, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road Central, Central | (+852) 2808 1086
Cheap and cheerful Chao Chao is a tough one to beat. Their supreme dish of phở dặc biệt ($88) combines rare beef, tendons, beef balls, beef brisket, and tripe with soft noodles and an irresistible broth, while their regular go-to phở bò ($63) with raw or well-done beef slices can be had for a steal. The only catch is that you have to make your way to Whampoa to get a taste of it! While the dishes here are excellent, don’t expect too much in the way of service.
Chao Chao, Shop 115, 1/F, Gourmet Place (Site 8), The Whampoa, Hung Hom | (+852) 3152 2866
On the hunt for a new neighbourhood favourite? Look no further than Xuân, celebrated chef John Nguyen’s newest baby. The Vietnamese-American kitchen veteran takes a bold and progressive approach towards Vietnamese cuisine in his latest venture, drawing inspiration from the indomitable spirit and intrepid writing of eighteenth-century poet Hồ Xuân Hương to create a menu of northern Vietnamese influences.
With exceptional phở as Chef John’s claim to fame, the classic noodle dish makes several appearances in the form of a beef prime rib phở ($138) with slow-cooked Angus prime rib in a rich beef broth; a chicken phở ($128) with local three-yellow chicken, simmered chicken broth, chicken oil ginger, and pickled garlic; and the Xuân signature beef phở ($158), which features Angus prime rib, braised beef tongue, and oxtail served in a 24-hour beef broth, Chinese doughnut, housemade chilli sauce, and pickled garlic.