The origin of phở is uncertain, and is mostly culled from oral histories. While a distinctly Vietnamese dish, phở has French and Chinese influences. Still, the consensus among academics, diners and restaurateurs is that it originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam. The specific place of origin appears to be southwest of Hanoi in Nam Dinh province, then a substantial textile market, where cooks sought to please both Vietnamese (with local rice noodles, of Chinese origin) and French tastes (cattle before the French arrival being beasts of burden, not frequently sources of beef). It was first sold by vendors from large boxes, until the first phở restaurant was opened in the 1920s in Hanoi.
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