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Pho for fertility: Saigon pho house adds special ingredients to juice up broth

Thursday, October 17, 2019, 11:34 GMT+7
Pho for fertility: Saigon pho house adds special ingredients to juice up broth
A chef pours steaming broth over rice noodles, sliced beef, and garnishes at Pho Ngoc Linh. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

A pho house in Ho Chi Minh City has been adding its own twist to Vietnam’s most recognized dish by infusing traditional pho broth with two special ingredients that they claim can help improve one’s sexual performance.

Located just 200 meters from Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, ‘Pho Ngoc Linh’ is known throughout the city as ‘pho for fertility’ thanks to a few special ingredients which the restaurateur says give men and women an extra reproductive boost.

Pho is a Vietnamese soup traditionally made with broth, rice noodles, herbs, and various cuts of beef.

The broth for pho is made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, and flank steak for several hours in a mixture of water and various spices – including cinnamon sticks, star anise, ginger, onion, black cardamom, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and cloves.

At Ngoc Linh, however, the owner adds two special ingredients – peanut worms and poor man’s ginseng – to give men and women an "extra increase in their prowess in bed," or so the owner claims.

Peanut worms and poor man’s ginseng are added to the broth at Pho Ngoc Linh. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tr

Peanut worms and poor man’s ginseng are added to the broth at Pho Ngoc Linh. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Peanut worms are said to improve circulation and act as a natural remedy for impotence and malnutrition while poor man’s ginseng – sourced from the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum – can alleviate fatigue, poor appetite, and debility, said Nguyen Tien Hai, the owner of Pho Ngoc Linh.

“[The ingredients] bring out the natural fragrance and mellow sweetness of the dish, which is already tasty and nutritious on its own,” Hai said.

Nguyen Tien Hai, owner of Pho Ngoc Linh, puts roasted peanut worms and poor man’s ginseng into a cheesecloth bag before adding the ingredients into a pot of broth. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Tien Hai, the owner of Pho Ngoc Linh, puts roasted peanut worms and poor man’s ginseng into a cheesecloth bag before adding the ingredients to a pot of broth. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

One of these 'special' bowls of pho at Ngoc Linh is priced at just VND65,000 (US$2.8).

“The rice noodles stay true to the northern Vietnamese origin of pho and the soup really hits a home run with its balanced sweetness,” reviewed Facebook user Hong Nguyen on the restaurant’s official page.

According to Hai, only top-quality beef and the freshest ingredients are served at his shop.

“We prefer beef from the Southern Yellow cattle breed because their meat is lined with a crispy layer of yellow fat that is very palatable and doesn’t leave an aftertaste,” Hai said, adding that his chefs adhere to a strict recipe passed down from generation to generation.

A bowl of pho at Pho Ngoc Linh. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

A bowl of pho at Pho Ngoc Linh. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Hai, who studied in the United States, said he first entered the restaurant business because he missed the taste of Vietnamese cuisine after years of consuming fast food in America.

“Pho is the heart and soul of the Vietnamese people and is also widely loved by our international friends,” Hai said.

“The dish deserves all the praise it gets.”

A waiter serves two bowls of pho at Pho Ngoc Linh. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

A waiter serves two bowls of pho at Pho Ngoc Linh. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

'Day of Pho'

Pho Ngoc Linh is joining a vote-based competition organized by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper to choose the top ten most beloved pho restaurants in Vietnam.

Readers and restaurants can submit nominations online at ngaycuapho12thang12.tuoitre.vn.

Nominations are open until October 20 and thirty panel-selected brands will be announced on October 31.

The public will be able to vote on their favorite of those thirty selections until November 31.

The competition serves as a lead-up to the 2019 Day of Pho, the third edition of the Tuoi Tre-hosted annual program to honor the world-renowned food.

The first ‘Pho Day’ was held in 2017 as part of an initiative launched by Tuoi Tre to celebrate the country’s national dish.

A year later, December 12 was officially designated as Vietnam’s “Day of Pho.”

The third Day of Pho will be held on December 8 this year at the White Palace wedding and convention center on Pham Van Dong Street in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City, with support from Acecook Vietnam.

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