Bo kho

The vestiges of the French will be seen in Vietnam by means of its diacritic-laden written language, regal colonial buildings and cooking. Whereas most level to pho or banh mi as banner-bearers of francophile gastronomic influences in Vietnamese cuisine, the common-or-garden bowl of bo kho can’t be missed.

Bo kho


The time period kho derives from a braising method utilized in Vietnamese delicacies and this dish epitomises it, seeing cheaper offcuts cooked to tender, flavourful perfection. For many Vietnamese, kho dishes are consolation meals and historically served within the house, however family-style dishes like this have grown in reputation as Saigon’s rising migrant neighborhood searches for that slice, or on this case bowl, of house.

Most kho dishes corresponding to thit kho to dau (caramelised braised pork with coconut milk) and ca kho to (braised fish in a caramel sauce) take cues from Chinese influences, however not this hearty one, which at first look seems European. Large hunks of beef swim in a deep red-coloured broth with carrots, onion and turnips (much less so potato).

For bo kho, beef shank and flank cuts are used. The flank has robust tendons veined all through, whereas shank is dense — not nice in case you plan to eat it as a steak, however best for gradual cooking. The lengthy stewing course of breaks down the meats to a young, virtually gelatinous texture. In contrast to most European stews, the deep purple color doesn’t come from tomatoes however from annato seeds, usually utilized in Vietnamese dishes for this color (they're additionally utilized in bun bo hue). The broth is Vietnamese in flavour with hints of lemongrass, ginger, star anise, cinnamon and five-spice powder.

The dish may be served with bun (rice vermicelli), mi (egg noodles), mi goi (egg noodle packet) or banh mi. As soon as the stew is ladled within the bowl, thinly sliced uncooked white onion, basil leaves and a splash of pepper are used as garnishes. As with most Vietnamese dishes, you might be given just a few condiments on the aspect to personalise your eating expertise. For this explicit dish, wedges of lime and sliced chillies are served. Ask for some muoi dieu, a mix of salt and pepper; squeeze in some lime and dip your beef for slightly additional tang.

A bowl of bo kho is usually a bit dearer than different road meals fare as beef isn’t low cost in Vietnam. Most road distributors cost 30,000 VND in District four, so anticipate to pay a bit extra in District 1. You’ll discover a advantageous bo kho vendor at 42 Hoang Dieu who is barely open for lunch, however in case you are on the lookout for one thing a bit extra central, quite a few stalls specialising in bo kho lie throughout the road from Bitexco tower.