Efforts made to promote the Van Cu Village ‘Pho” brand in Nam Dinh Province
Update: Mar 07, 2024
Co Nhu Doi, the fourth generation of the Van Cu Village ‘Pho’ (noodle soup) brand in Nam Dinh Province believes that it is crucial to rebuild and preserve the ‘Pho’ brand of his village. Gathering hundreds of chefs in the village, the Van Cu ‘Pho’ Club was formed in 2022 and has developed with more methodical operation. They are also promoting intellectual property registration for the Van Cu ‘Pho’ brand.

Co Nhu Doi, an over-50-year-old artisan of Van Cu ‘Pho’ Village, spent more than 35 years making a living in Hanoi with the traditional ‘pho’ of Van Cu Village. His grandfather, artisan Co Nhu Dat, brought Van Cu ‘Pho’ to Hanoi during the French colonial period. At that time, he had three Nam Dinh Co ‘Pho’ restaurants on Ta Hien Street, Luong Van Can Street,and Luong Ngoc Quyen Street.

At the age of 15, Co Nhu Doi followed his grandfather to Hanoi to sell ‘pho’. He learned the family secrets of how to cook delicious broth by heart when he was a child.

Sharing about how Van Cu ‘Pho’ differs in flavour compared to many other ‘Pho’ brands, Van Cu Village’s ‘pho’ has been passed down from older generations to younger generations.

Artisan Co Nhu Doi and other chefs prepare ingredients to serve tourists during the 2022 ‘Pho’ Festival.

“The secret to cooking delicious broth is in choosing the ingredients. Bones must be carefully selected, with many tubes and fresh meat. Bones are simmered with strict rules on temperature and time. Among the spices for the broth, we especially need good fish sauce, typical ginger (called ‘de’ ginger), and coarse salt”, said Co Nhu Doi.

Therefore, he said very confidently: “Anyone who has eaten ‘Pho’ of Van Cu Village will never forget the special flavour of the unique broth.”

Later in the 2000s, Co Nhu Doi opened many new ‘Pho’ restaurants on Truong Dinh Street, Khuong Trung Street, and Khuong Dinh Street. “During the 2001-2005 period, each restaurant sold an average of more than 2 quintals of noodles per day,” said Co Nhu Doi.

Many years later, he and other villagers continue to make their living by selling ‘pho’, bringing the flavour of Nam Dinh’s ‘pho’ throughout the country. However, many people have chosen a simpler way to cook broth with available spices, which does not ensure the original standards of Van Cu Village. In addition, there have been imitation Van Cu ‘Pho’ restaurants.

In 2022, after ‘Pho’ Festival, Co Nhu Doi conceived the idea of preserving the identity of Van Cu ‘Pho’. He called on others in the village to contribute their efforts to build a strong Van Cu ‘Pho’ community towards preserving the roots of Van Cu ‘Pho’. Following his enthusiastic call, about 50 chefs unanimously agreed to join the Van Cu Pho Club in Nam Truc District, Nam Dinh Province.

“The club members’ aspiration is to share all the enthusiasm and essence of the profession that had been passed down by their ancestors to both learn from each other and gain experience to make the best bowls of Van Cu Pho,” he said.

Van Cu ‘Pho’ Club was born quickly based on the spirit of volunteerism and enthusiasm of the female villagers. The Club's first regulation is that their ‘pho’ restaurants must ensure food hygiene and safety, and the quality of ‘pho’ must be the same.

Gradually, hundreds of ‘pho’ restaurant owners in the village have voluntarily joined the Van Cu Pho Club. Hundreds of restaurants in the village have been forming an increasingly strong community to protect their village’s brand.

Faced with the fact that many restaurants are building a “fake” Van Cu ‘Pho’ brand, Co Nhu Doi has been thinking more about the protection of the Van Cu ‘Pho’ brand.

He said: “We are completing the dossier to register intellectual property for the Van Cu ‘Pho’ brand. We want to make real quality dishes by making real things by real people in Van Cu Village. We are also thinking about building Van Cu Village ‘pho’ restaurants that are all the same in quality and signage to serve as a brand for tourists to identify.”

He expressed his hope that the agencies and organisations can promote the club's further development, contributing to keeping the unique cuisine of Nam Dinh.

Artisan Co Nhu Doi. (Photo: Nhat Quang)

After the 2024 ‘Pho’ Festival, he hopes that the impression of Van Cu ‘Pho’ will create more impressions with tourists nationwide. In the future, thanks to growing support from customers, the club members will produce packaged Van Cu ‘Pho’ broth products for sale to the market.

Thien Lam - Translated by NDO

NDO - en.nhandan.vn - Mar 6, 2024