The Spot: A prominent corner of one of the Old Quarter's busier intersections where the traffic lights have been permanently switched off! Buses power through here, horns blasting. An antique fan repair shop is opposite, a temple of primary colours adjacent behind. Just up the street from "most famous" pho, at 1 Hang Dieu.
Space and Atmosphere: The cluttered interior is strangely triangular in shape, a pokey hole which can accommodate ten to twelve noodle-munchers, all elbows in! The major space is curbside where perhaps twenty patrons can sit. The pervading ambience is raw traffic chaos. Get ready to run from any rogue moto careening out of the path of a reckless bus driver.
Shopfront Style: A spidery shade-casting banyan dominates the shopfront. Erupting out of the concrete footpath, its hanging roots have been clipped, its branches claw at the power lines and scratch at the eatery's red signage.
Serving Station: A glass cabinet contains a bounty of assorted chicken bits. Dark meat, white meat, chewy sinewy bits, threads of boiled skin like bumpy rubber bands. The woman seated behind it is chief portioner, swivelling from side to side, dunking and separating noodles, pinching and arranging chook and spring onions, ladling soup. Crouched behind her is another woman, an expert in chicken anatomy, who cleavers at the birds, digging out every last edible shred of flesh from each carcass.
Sticks, Condiments and Crockery: The varnish is chipping off the sticks. Plastic plates of lime wedges and a stunning palette of fiery chilis and pin thin lime leaf strips make for a colourful table. It's comforting that the bowls are the usual floral numbers scalloped just above the base, just like Nana's.
Meat Generosity: Plenty of the sort I'm not all that fond of - chewy, attached to skin and favoured vehemently by the locals. I'm such a fussy ponce in this matter!
Service to Delivery Gap: A very popular joint, they shunt the punters in and out to maximise seat turnover. I drew breath a dozen times and the pho was before me.
Stock Factor: Slightly cloudy and not as comforting as I remembered from a previous visit.
Cost: 20,000VND (USD$1.05, AUD$1.15)
Rank: Not up there.