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Famous Hanoi noodle shop opens Tokyo franchise

Pho Thin shop in Tokyo. Photo: Vietnamplus

Pho Thin – a family-run noodle shop in Hanoi 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.

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. 

Within a half hour of opening, the shop had sold out. While a bowl of Pho Thin in Hanoi costs 60,000 VND (2.6 USD), its Tokyo version costs 840 JPY (7.5 USD).

Pho Thin Tokyo is crowded with customers. Photo: Vietnamplus
Owner of Pho Thin Tokyo, Kenji Sumi, is a former office worker who travelled regularly to Hanoi for business and was amazed by the unique flavour of the famous dish.

He said it was completely different from any kind of pho 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.

In January 2018, he flew back to Hanoi to meet the owner of Pho Thin, Nguyen Trong Thin, 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 the March 9 opening, Thin 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.