Hanoi Pho Budapest

Hanoi Pho’s name is misleading because the bland pho soup they make is hardly the reason to visit this Vietnamese restaurant in Budapest’s Downtown near the Parliament building. (Like in other parts of the Western world, they use this iconic Vietnamese dish as a signifier for Vietnamese food in general.)

With a long menu and a chef duo representing both ends of Vietnam - one is from Hanoi the other Saigon - they cover a refreshingly long range and style of Vietnamese dishes, many of which are rarely served in Budapest. For example, Hanoi Pho is the one restaurant where I found banh xèo, or "sizzling pancake." It’s a rice flour-, coconut milk-, and turmeric-based crispy and savory crepe, folded and stuffed with shrimp, lettuce, and bean sprouts. Don’t miss it.

But perhaps because of the ambitious offerings - a total of 109 items are listed on the leather-bound menu that also includes several Japanese, Thai and Chinese staples - most dishes didn’t leave much of an impression. That includes the soups, the bun cha, the roasted pork belly (thit heo quay), and the spring rolls.

Note that Hanoi Pho is one of the few elegant Vietnamese restaurants in Budapest (besides Quán Nón Restaurant), fit for business dinners and other formal occasions despite it being located underground.