Asian food, especially Vietnamese cuisine, is well known as healthy because of a good amount of vegetables used in the recipe to balance the flavors and the meat of the dish.
To anyone who dislikes eating vegetables, Bo kho will change your mind of tasting these green in Vietnamese cuisine. That is not because there are no vegetables in the food, but the way the food is made will make you eat healthy without noticing.
Bo kho is a kind of beef stew with touches of Vietnamese flavors.
"Kho" in Bo kho is actually a cooking method, in which you braise the meat in a broth until most of the broth evaporates. However, Bo kho is more like a stew. The beef is marinated with five-spice powder or curry powder - the special ingredient that makes Bo kho different from other beef stew - salt, sugar, and pepper, then stewed in water or coconut juice. A lot of vegetables and spices like onion, carrot, potato, and lemongrass are also added to balance with the hearty and meaty beef. Add a little achiote oil if you want to make the color the broth more attractive. And finally, finishing the dish with a little bit of spring onion and Vietnamese basil.
When ordering Bo kho, you will be asked if you want to eat it with banh mi, ramen or rice noodle. Different kinds of starch will give the dish a different flavor, but whatever you choose, the hearty yet refreshing beef flavor will blow you away.
The origin of Bo kho is actually from the Chinese, but there have been some changes in the recipe to suit the available local ingredients and taste. Besides Pho, which is another beef dish with noodles, Bo kho is an incredibly popular breakfast in Vietnam. The difference between the dishes is that Pho is lighter and less oily. But who can resist enjoying the delicious stew Bo kho at any time of day?
Bo kho is usually on the menu but not the main star of food stalls or restaurants, so to find a place serving this Vietnamese beef stew without knowing what's on the menu is difficult, especially when you just traveling. Below are some good places for you to try out the taste of Bo Kho.
Address: 81 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 7 AM - 9 PM. Bo kho is usually sold out after 7 PM
Price: VND 60,000
The outside of Bo Kho Nam Sao
The restaurant has a convenient location in the center of the city, near Bui Vien Walking Street where there are many entertainment places and hotels. Not only that but Bo Kho Nam Sao is also a decent and clean restaurant with air-conditioner and tidy rows of tables.
A bowl of Bo kho with bread (Banh mi)
A full bowl of Kho Bo in here is a perfect combination of sourness and sweetness, tenderness and softness, flavorful beef and fresh herbs. A basket of green like Vietnamese basil and beansprout are served separately along with spices like chili, salt-pepper, and limes. Besides the Bo kho, the restaurant also serves several beef dishes cooked in Vietnamese style.
The owner is friendly and speaks English well. You should have no trouble making the order and even having a little conversation with her about the culture, lifestyle, and food of Vietnam and other countries that you have been to.
Address: Alley 194 Vo Van Tan, Ward 5, District 3
Opening hours: 4 PM - 9 PM. You should come before 8:30 because the Bo kho is often sold out after this hour.
Price: VND 35,000
At 194 Alley on Vo Van Tan Street, there is a big sign written "Bo Kho"; walk a few meters in the alley, and you will meet the food stall. If you want to eat Bo kho the local style, this is the best place to be.
The Vietnamese beef stew here has become one of the most famous street foods in the community. You can eat at the restaurant at the small table and chairs or buy the takeaway.
Bo Kho Vo Van Tan hiding in a small alley, with street-style food stall
The staff can't speak English well, but they are friendly and enthusiastic people so there should be no worry when you make your order and eat here. Owned by a Vietnamese-Indian lady, Bo Kho Vo Van Tan is a flawless mix of the two cuisines, bringing the unique flavor that only this food stall has. The bowl of Bo kho here is also served with a basket of herbs, chili, and limes to bring out extra flavor and aroma.
A bowl of Banh mi Bo kho at 194 Vo Van Tan
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The fun thing when traveling to another country is that you can get to know about the culture, people, and stories through the food. And we guarantee Bo Kho is a ticket to an amazing trip to Vietnam that you haven’t seen before.
You can also try out other famous Vietnamese cuisines in our guides or check out our private food tour and know more about other delicious foods.