With the advent of cool and damp weather, the other night I ducked into Pho Ao Sen 2 again to try the chicken noodle soup (pho ga). I ordered the dac biet (house specialty) version which includes chicken on the bone served on the side as shown below.
I had asked for dark meat only and was happy to get a portion of the giblets, as well as the thigh and wing joint. The barely warm free-range chicken was cooked perfectly with intense flavor and a slight chewiness. The liver and giblets were poached to just the right degree of doneness, the liver not mealy or muddy-tasting and the giblets offering a chewy, near crunchy toothsomeness. A thin gingery apricot (yellow plum?) dipping sauce accompanied this.
The noodles and vegetable garnishes and toppings were as exemplary as my experience with the pho bo (link below). However, the broth was disappointing and not nearly as fragrant. It tasted more of beef than chicken and was unbearably salty. I also got quite an MSG-buzz from it. Maybe lunch time is better than dinner, as this stock seemed like it had gotten too concentrated and lost its subtlety being held too long.
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