Tuesday, September 29 2020


Famous Hà Nội noodle shop opens Tokyo franchise

Update: March, 12/2019 - 18:08

Kenji Sumi, the owner of Pho Thin Tokyo, seen during a visit to Phở Thìn in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Tuyến
Viet Nam News

TOKYO — Phở Thìn – a family-run noodle shop in Hà Nội open for 30 years – has opened its first franchise in Tokyo.

Opened on March 9, the new shop has been greeting hundreds of guests each day. Outside the shop, there is a permanent long line of people waiting patiently for a seat.

According to Vietnam News Agency's Tokyo bureau, the famous noodle soup has retained its authentic flavour and presentation. The thin beef slices are flash-fried before topping the noodles together with sliced spring onion and boiling beef broth. 

Opened on March 9, the new shop has been greeting hundreds of guests each day. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Tuyến

Within a half hour of opening, the shop had sold out. While a bowl of Phở Thìn in Hà Nội costs VNĐ60,000 (US$2.6), its Tokyo version costs 840 yen ($7.5). Owner of Pho Thin Tokyo, Kenji Sumi, is a former office worker who travelled regularly to Hà Nội for business and was amazed by the unique flavour of the famous dish.

He said it was completely different from any kind of phở that he had tried before.

“The broth is flavourful, the green spring onions cover the white noodles, and the smell is so good. Even the chili sauce is also very different,” he said.

Haunted by this traditional dish, in March 2016, Sumi decided to quit his job to pursue his “dream” – to open a Vietnamese noodle shop in Tokyo.

Inside the Pho Thin Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Tuyến

In January 2018, he flew back to Hà Nội to meet the owner of Phở Thìn, Nguyễn Trọng Thìn, to convince him to share his family recipe. After long negotiations, Sumi received the nod from the owner to start his business in Tokyo.  

Before Saturday’s opening, Thìn also flew to Tokyo to make sure every step in the new shop replicated the authentic version.  

At present, the shop, which can be found at B1, Hayakawa Building, 1-12-14, Higashiikebukuro, Toshima District, is open from noon to 2pm.

Sumi said he has plan to open other similar phở shops in Japan, aiming to create a new culture of enjoying this Vietnamese traditional dish among Japanese people.

At present, there are about 200 Vietnamese restaurants in Tokyo, serving most favourite dishes such as deep-fried spring roll, bún chả (charcoal-grilled pork served with fresh noodle), bánh xèo (sizzling crepe). — VNS


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