Korea is funny in that some street eats that are dirt cheap back in their homeland become ridiculously expensive upon entering the peninsula. People are paying W30,000 for Indian curry and W10,000 for a burrito! What is going on people?! Vietnamese noodles, essentially street food that costs around a dollar or two (USD), is marked up to W7000-10,000 so almost ten times the price. I suppose it’s cheaper than flying to Vietnam… but still highway robbery!
But cravings are cravings and the heart wants what the stomach wants and I am a slave to my tummy so 10x priced pho it is. Unfortunately, there are not many pho places in Seoul that do it well. The broth usually ends up being this salty watered down mess with limp noodles and a few sad looking pieces of meat floating around.
After much trial and error I was able to find a few places that are up to par. The first one is a few blocks away from my flat in Gangnam and my go to spot when I don’t feel like eating at home. Vinh Loi, close to exit 6/7 does an excellent pho tai (W12,000) and a decent spring roll. The broth isn’t as complex as I would like it but they provide an abundance of meat and a large handful of bean sprouts that wilt immediately in the piping hot soup.
North of the river, Little Papa Pho is hailed to be the greatest pho spot in Seoul with a long line in front of prove it. I rolled past the couples and groups having opted to eat alone and was seated at the bar. Ha! That’s right, eating along has its perks people! The raw beef pho (W9,000) has this deep, rich broth that was made to be slurped.
I can’t imagine anything better than a big bowl of pho this winter. And considering how much I’ve been drinking, it hits the spot as a hangover cure every. single. time.
1321-8 Seocho 2-dong
T: +82 2 582 1990
Little Papa Pho
T: +82 2 326 2788