Tasty, Authentic $6 Hawker Pho Cooked By Vietnamese Chefs From “Well-Known Pho Chain” (2023)

341 Beach Road Pho is run by two Ho Chi Minh City-born chefs, one of whom used to work at a five-star hotel in Vietnam.

beach road vietnamese pho beef pho vietnamese hawker 341 beach road pho pho bo pho ga spring roll
Tasty, Authentic $6 Hawker Pho Cooked By Vietnamese Chefs From “Well-Known Pho Chain” (1)

A Vietnamese pho hawker joint has opened at Beach Road just three weeks ago, and it’s run by two Ho Chi Minh City-born chefs, Nguyen Thi My Chau, 42, and Au Van Tieng, 32. Named after its old-school coffeeshop’s address, 341 Beach Road Pho serves up familiar Vietnamese dishes like pork chop with rice, spring rolls, and its namesake Saigon-style pho with beef or chicken.

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Colleagues at well-known pho chain

The two hawkers have two decades of culinary experience between them. Despite his younger age, Au is the senior in the kitchen. He has been cooking for around 12 years and was previously a chef at the five-star Hotel Nikko Saigon specialising in cooking upscale Vietnamese food.

He moved to Singapore in 2017 to work at a “well-known pho chain” (which he declines to name). He later got promoted to head chef, running several restaurant outlets where he got to know his future business partner Nguyen, who was then working as a cook.

“She helped me get settled down in Singapore. I could feel that she was a very good person,” Au shares of his decision to set up a stall with her. Nguyen echoes his sentiments, saying that she trusts him as he is “hardworking with a very good attitude and is a good cook.”

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Tasty, Authentic $6 Hawker Pho Cooked By Vietnamese Chefs From “Well-Known Pho Chain” (3)

Hawker dreams

After Au got his PR citizenship earlier this year, he and Nguyen started planning their joint business. The affable Au explains: “My dream was to open my own stall. You always feel tired working for others, but the effort you put into your own business and the skills you have is what brings you success.”

Initially, he had “some fears” about leaving a stable salaried job as he has a family to support (his Singaporean wife is a homemaker). “I’m very lucky to have my wife who takes care of our baby. I can use all my brain power for my work and focus on making money,” he laughs.

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Location, location, location

He and Nguyen invested $20,000 into setting up their stall, and now see brisk business from the Bugis office crowd. “This area is known for having a lot of Vietnamese food,” he adds, listing off nearby eateries like Mrs Pho’s Bussorah Street outlet and Pho Co Hai, also at Beach Road.

The hawkers move around 100 bowls of pho a day, along with “a good number” of other items like pork chop rice and stir-fried hum (blood cockles). Au says he has high hopes for his stall. “Once we have run it longer and business is stable, I’d like to open my own restaurant,” he says. But he reckons that he will still run it personally: “I don’t want to open many outlets – you have to hire workers and hope that they’ll do it seriously, and no one can ever do it as seriously as yourself as it’s your own business.”

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The menu

The Ho Chi Minh City-style pho here has a darker, hoisin sauce-spiked broth that’s more robust compared to the cleaner pho broth popular in Hanoi up north. These hawkers’ master stock is made from beef bones simmered for “at least 12 hours”. Au declares: “Anything less, and the flavour from the bones won’t be extracted.”

He fortifies the stock with spices like cinnamon and star anise for their beef pho, which costs $6 to $7 depending on the cut of beef you choose. The same broth is imbued with pineapple and lemongrass for the Bun Bo Hue (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup, $7), a feistier version of pho. Other Vietnamese delights include bun thit bo xao (stir-fried beef with rice vermicelli) and goi cuon (spring rolls made with rice paper).

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Sliced Beef Pho, from $6

Our bowl of pho bo comes with thin, silky rice noodles, bean sprouts and sliced onions served in a piping hot broth topped with lean slices of rare beef round. The soup is yummy and stands up well to other joints we’ve tried like the nearby Mrs Pho – distinctly flavourful and beefy, although we'd prefer a broth less heavy on the star anise, as we find the herby notes here pretty overwhelming.

Tasty, Authentic $6 Hawker Pho Cooked By Vietnamese Chefs From “Well-Known Pho Chain” (7)

We find the beef a little tough too – we much prefer the succulent brisket (slow-cooked for “around six hours” till tender) that comes with the all-in Sliced Beef Combo ($7), which also includes a couple of springy beef balls and a soft-boiled egg (slurp it whole or mix it into your noodles). Shoot for the $7 version we say. It’s tastier and you get more ingredients for just an extra dollar.

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Spicy Beef Noodle Soup, $7 (8 DAYS Pick!)

This spicy-sweet broth in this bowl packs meaty oomph, tempered by the addition of sweet pineapples and earthy lemongrass. Each mouthful is chased with a hefty lick of spicy heat thanks to Au’s fragrant house-made chilli oil. Served with sliced beef round, meatballs and brisket on top of vermicelli, we find this dish satisfying and moreish.

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Beef Stir Fry with Vermicelli, $6 (8 DAYS Pick!)

Think of this dish as kinda like a rice noodle salad: Thin slices of beef, drizzled with fish and oyster sauces, are stir-fried with onions and layered over a bed of dry vermicelli, pickled carrots, chopped lettuce and some Thai basil. Crushed peanuts are sprinkled all over for extra texture.

The noodle dish isn’t as commonly found in Singapore compared to pho bo, so this is our virgin bun thit bo xao experience. The reasonably tender beef is heavily seasoned and rather salty on its own, but just nice when taken with a mouthful of everything else. Drizzle some of the lime, chilli and fish sauce dressing it’s served with, and be rewarded with a punchy, crunchy bowl.

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Grilled Pork Chop Rice, $6.50

Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for the middling grilled pork chop over rice, as the chop is tough enough that we have trouble piercing it with our fork. Too bad, since we find the lemongrass and fish sauce marinade pretty toothsome; the runny-yolked fried egg is also on point.

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Fried Spring Rolls, $3 for three pcs

Minced shrimp, pork and wood ear mushrooms are stuffed into egg roll wrappers and deep-fried. No-frills but oh-so-addictive, especially when we douse it liberally with the accompanying chilli dip.

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Stir Fry Chilli Garlic Cockles, $7

Plump blood cockles stir-fried with garlic, chopped chillies and lard – rather similar to the version served at fellow Vietnamese eatery Mrs Pho that we heard was good (unfortunately, it was sold out during our last visit.)

Nevertheless, the bivalves at 341 Beach Road Pho are very much worth your attention. We pop open the shells to dig out the juicy cockles which are respectably garlicky (we couldn’t taste any lard fragrance though). It’s plenty spicy enough as is, but there’s an optional salty lime-and-chilli dip that left our throat burning. Most of the cockles we tried are cooked through though a couple are on the bloodier side, so ask for it to be cooked longer if you don’t fancy too-raw hums.

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Bottom line

341 Beach Road Pho is run by a couple of friendly Vietnam-born chefs with professional culinary cred, which shows in the dishes we have tried. Our top picks: The well-balanced spicy beef pho, and the yummy beef and vermicelli stir-fry. The spring rolls and stir-fried cockles make for great beer grub too.

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The details

341 Beach Road Pho is at #01-06, Luk Lu Eating House, 341 Beach Rd, S199567. Open daily 10.30am – 8.30pm (closed on alternate weekends). More info viaFacebook.

Photos: Alvin Teo

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beach road vietnamese pho beef pho vietnamese hawker 341 beach road pho pho bo pho ga spring roll

FAQs

What is the most popular pho? ›

There are many variations, although beef (Pho bo) and chicken (Pho ga) remain the most popular options. Pho bo: Normally, the beef used in pho bo is medium-rare, and continues to cook in the steaming soup broth.

What kind of pho is traditional? ›

MAIN INGREDIENTS

Phở hải sản is a traditional Vietnamese variety of pho. This type of pho is made with seafood as the basic element. The broth is made from chicken bones and seafood, which give it a slightly sweet flavor.

What are the white balls in pho? ›

Vietnamese beef balls (bò viên) consist of ground beef and seasonings that have been churned into a paste, and formed into round balls, similar to fish balls. They are most commonly served in Vietnamese beef pho noodle soup.

What are the two types of pho? ›

There are two types of pho: a classic northern (pho bac) and a southern (pho nam). The classic pho consists of flat rice noodles in a fragrant broth with slices of beef and pieces of spring onion.

What is the proper way to eat pho? ›

Once you're ready to take a bite, pinch a few noodles in between your chopsticks, careful to include some leaves and a chunk of meat, then dig in. At the same time, with your other hand, take in a spoon of the broth and slurp it down. Loudly. That's how the Vietnamese do it.

What is the most popular soup in Vietnam? ›

Phở Bò (or Pho Bo) probably is the most famous Vietnamese soup that foreign tourists know. However, it has a shorter name, which is Pho. Pho was originated in Nam Dinh province (in the North of Vietnam). After that, Pho became popular in Hanoi as well.

What makes pho so special? ›

Pho is a Vietnamese soup that's made with all the good stuff: broth, noodles, beef (or other protein) and lots of mix-and-match toppings. The best thing about pho is that it's such a restorative food—the comforting soup is savory and rich, while still feeling clean and refreshing at the same time.

Is Vietnamese pho healthy? ›

Due to its nutritious ingredients and high protein content, it may offer several benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved joint health. Still, it can be high in sodium and calories, so portion size is important. Overall, pho can be a nutritious addition to a well-balanced diet.

What does pho mean in Vietnamese? ›

Pho is a type of Vietnamese soup that usually consists of bone broth, rice noodles, spices, and thinly sliced meat (usually beef). Though “pho” technically refers to the noodles and not the soup itself, most people consider the dish a singular unit. It's often topped with herbs and bean sprouts.

What is the chewy thing in pho? ›

Tripe tends to take on the seasonings of whatever's around it. This is why it makes such a welcome addition to pho. The tripe sits in the pho, absorbs all those good herbs and moisture, and comes out as a sort of 'pho in meat'. This adaptability also means it can be used in dishes spicy, sugary, salty, or otherwise.

What is the chewy meat in pho? ›

The meatballs in a pho dish are not to be likened to the meatballs you encounter in Italian pasta dishes. Pho meatballs are a bit chewy because they contain pieces of beef tendon and cartilage.

What is the White chewy thing in pho? ›

Phở noodles are made from rice. They are flat in shape, white in color and smooth, soft, slippery and very slightly chewy in texture.

What is the normal pho? ›

Phở, pronounced "fuh," is a Vietnamese soup that is normally made with a bone-beef broth, banh pho noodles, and thinly sliced beef, that's often served with bean sprouts and other fresh herbs on the side. Not to be confused with Japanese ramen, which is usually made with wheat noodles, pho is made with rice noodles.

Is brisket or flank better in pho? ›

Flank Steak

This is our number-one pick for pho for flavor, texture, and price. Despite being a lean and fibrous cut, flank steak has an intense meaty flavor.

What type of beef is used for pho? ›

Top choices for beef pho are sirloin steak, round eye, or London broil. All of these are quick-cooking pieces of beef that won't leave you chewing for hours. My favorite of the bunch is round eye, which is what I've used today — this cut is leaner than sirloin and I like its beefy flavor, especially in this pho.

What is the brown sauce you put in pho? ›

In Vietnamese, hoisin sauce is called tương đen. It is a popular condiment for phở, a Vietnamese noodle soup, in southern Vietnam. The sauce can be directly added into a bowl of phở at the table, or it can be used as a dip for the meat of phở dishes.

Are you supposed to drink the broth in pho? ›

It's expected that you eat the contents of the soup and don't just drink the broth. If you are at a restaurant and only want broth, you'll probably save money by asking for the broth by itself, rather than pho.

What condiments do you add to pho? ›

As for condiments, we're partial to Thai basil (you can substitute regular basil if you need to), fresh mint, crispy bean sprouts, a teeny tiny splash of fish sauce, and some Asian chili sauce. Hoisin sauce is also pretty common, but we rarely add it ourselves — it can take over the delicate deep flavor of the broth.

What does Nam Vang mean in Vietnamese? ›

Nam Vang is the Vietnamese word for Phnom Penh, the largest and capital city of Cambodia. Together Hu Tieu Nam Vang translates to Phnom Penh Chinese noodle soup, a dish that has roots in both Cambodian and Chinese flavors, yet it's incredibly popular in southern Vietnam.

What is a three letter word for Vietnamese soup? ›

VIETNAMESE NOODLE SOUP Crossword Clue
AnswerLetters
Vietnamese noodle soup with 3 Letters
PHO3
2 more rows

What is the difference between pho and noodle soup? ›

Pho is made with rice noodles and ramen is made with wheat noodles. Pho is a very light and fresh dish whereas ramen is more filling and hearty. Both pho and ramen can be easily found in their respective countries, as they are popular amongst locals, and both are relatively cheap.

Is pho good for your stomach? ›

Traditionally made pho naturally contains anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense ingredients that promote the detoxification of toxins, fight viral and bacterial infections, aid in digestion and supply the body with beneficial enzymes.

What do you drink pho with? ›

Phở Bò is a Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup that pairs best with crisp white wines such as Chablis, bone-dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Soave. These dry white wines have plenty of zip to handle the salty, savoury, and earthy Phở Bò flavours, offering up plenty of refreshment.

Is pho healthy for weight loss? ›

The more protein you have, the fewer carbs you're going to consume. Pho is a great weight loss dish with the only real concern being sodium. This doesn't make it unhealthy. A single bowl of pho can be an important part of a balanced diet.

Is pho healthier than ramen? ›

Ramen is always going to naturally be higher in calories though and there isn't much to do to bring that down. Vietnamese pho is designed to be filling but also low in calories so for pho lovers, that's a win. Carb-wise, pho contains roughly 45g of carbs per bowl compared to ramen which has approx. 60g of carbs.

Does pho cause high blood pressure? ›

The one thing to be extra conscientious with pho is that it's very high in sodium, which can cause increased blood pressure and contribute to cardiovascular issues. (Some bowls have more than 1,000 mg, which is practically the entire allotment of recommended sodium intake for the day.)

Do Vietnamese eat pho everyday? ›

Do Vietnamese eat Pho and Spring Rolls everyday? No, they do not. Pho is the most popular Vietnamese dish, however it is not the staple diet for the locals, unlike steamed rice. Spring Rolls, on the other hand, is only consumed during special occasions like Lunar New Year or Wedding ceremonies.

What is pho in English? ›

: a soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles.

What is the national food of Vietnam? ›

Pho is the national dish of Vietnam and is sold everywhere from nice restaurants to street corners where grandmothers set up makeshift kitchens. For this version, all of the components—noodles, beef brisket broth, herbs, chiles—are served separately.

What does pho taste like? ›

Pho tastes like chicken or beef stock since its broth is made from them. The flavor profile of Pho is a mix of the flavor of chicken or beef stock, hints of ginger, and Thai basil leaves. Pho is an aromatic dish, and the gently spiced beef or chicken soup tastes flavorsome.

What are the best noodles for pho? ›

Narrow rice noodles (linguine or fettuccine size) are perfect for pho noodle soup. Wide rice noodles (think pappardelle) work best for the stir-fried, panfried, and deep-fried noodles.

What does eye round mean pho? ›

Rare sliced eye of round steak. A meat ingredient in beef pho. Bo tai is normally included in the bowl when served, but can be ordered as a side dish (raw) to be cooked in hot broth at the table.

How long does pho last in the fridge? ›

Store the pho broth separately from any leftover solids. Separate them using a sieve and keep the different components in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. The broth will last 6-7 days, while the noodles and meat will last 2 days. You can also freeze the broth for up to 6 months.

Why is my pho meat raw? ›

Yes, this is normal. If you ordered pho with beef slices, it will be raw. Typically round and thinly sliced raw beef. Dine-in: thin beef slices will be added to the top of the bowl/pho and as you separate your noodles and add in sauces, the beef cooks in the hot broth.

Can I eat the raw meat in pho? ›

These are part of your garnishes. In the top right compartment of the box are a few slices of tái meat (eye round steak). If it looks a little uncooked to you, you're not wrong! The traditional method of eating phở is to dunk the tái into the broth to cook just before serving so it stays tender.

Is it OK to eat raw beef in pho? ›

In the case of pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of rice noodles and raw beef slices in a clear broth, the raw beef is considered a delicate ingredient regardless of the associated risk. Fortunately, the submersion of raw beef in the broth provides a kill step, should pathogens be present.

How do I make pho broth clear? ›

Aim for a clear pho broth

Blanch the bone for five minutes and rinse it in cold water. Blanching greatly reduces the amount of residue in the broth. The bone will lose flavor. The bones exude their essence during the five hours of gentle simmering.

Is Vietnamese pho spicy? ›

But the question does arise, is Pho actually very spicy? The answer to that question is mostly no. The spices used in the preparation of Pho are whole spices whose purpose is to provide aromatic and flavorful effects.

Are pho noodles rice noodles? ›

Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a Vietnamese noodle soup that's made with broth, rice noodles, meat, and fresh garnishes.

What is the secret ingredient in pho? ›

The "Secret" Ingredients

Dried shrimp for sale near Ben Thanh Market Saigon. Courtesy Wikipedia. There's Vietnamese dried shrimp (tôm khô) and Vietnamese dried squid (mực khô). Both of these ingredients can be used to impart the umami taste and enhance flavors in any dish.

Why is there no pork pho? ›

Pho Tai, Pho Chin, Pho gan,... all make from beef . There is no pork in anykind of Pho. It's not easy if you do not eat pork because they often use pork bone to cook the broth. Choose the shop that have only Pho Bo, then it will be pure beef.

Why is pho so popular in Vietnam? ›

Pho fans came from all backgrounds, as the soup's popularity spread — from Hanoi in the north to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in the south. Inspiring cooks and even poets, it became Vietnam's national food. Vietnamese people are nationalistic, and pho is not only part of their cuisine but also their pride.

How do you pronounce pho? ›

The generally accepted way to say “pho” is “fuh.”

When people in the U.S. see the word “pho,” they may be inclined to pronounce it like “toe.” This makes sense when you consider some English words that end in a consonant followed by an “o” (so, go, fro, etc.).

What kind of bones are in pho? ›

Knuckle bones are the best to make the stock for pho recipe. The knobby knuckle bones, about the size of your fist, is full of gelatin – which gives body and richness to your broth. The knuckle bones make the biggest difference in your broth!

What is tai Chin pho? ›

Pho Tai Chín is a Rice Noodle Soup with Medium Rare Eye Beef and Brisket. Served with hot broth and vegetables. Delicious at any time of the day!

What 5 spices are typically added to the pho broth? ›

Spices: There are 5 important spices in pho broth — star anise, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and coriander seeds. I really recommend using the whole (not ground) spices if possible, which we will briefly toast to bring out extra flavor.

Why does pho take so long to make? ›

For restaurant-quality pho, the time required to simmer the broth can take up to 12 hours or more. Why is it necessary for the boiling to take that long? The explanation is simple: It takes time for the marrow in the bones to dissolve into the water.

Is there fish sauce in pho? ›

Authentic, Vietnamese pho soup is all about the broth! Beef bones, fish sauce, star anise, and ginger simmer for at least 6 hours, creating a complex, aromatic broth that may not be quick, but it's certainly delicious.

Is pho better than ramen? ›

Ramen is, without a doubt, the superior soup. It packs a punch of flavour in the broth that pho struggles to deliver sans the plate of sides (mint, lemon and chilli, we're looking at you). Ramen isn't an additions dish—it's wholly complete when it lands in front of you.

Why is pho so popular? ›

The popularity of pho broth (and ramen) soups may be due to a new appreciation of the sustaining benefits of broth. Americans have long understood the goodness of broth. One of America's best-selling commercial soups is Campbell's 'chicken noodle soup' which is basically broth in a can.

Why is pho so popular in Vietnam? ›

Pho fans came from all backgrounds, as the soup's popularity spread — from Hanoi in the north to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in the south. Inspiring cooks and even poets, it became Vietnam's national food. Vietnamese people are nationalistic, and pho is not only part of their cuisine but also their pride.

Is Vietnamese pho healthy? ›

Due to its nutritious ingredients and high protein content, it may offer several benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved joint health. Still, it can be high in sodium and calories, so portion size is important. Overall, pho can be a nutritious addition to a well-balanced diet.

Is pho healthy for losing weight? ›

Having a slightly lower carbohydrates content, this equates to rice noodles also having a lower calories content when compared to other noodles. Therefore, making pho one of the best noodle dishes for health and weight loss goals.

What's the pink thing in ramen? ›

Narutomaki: If you've ever noticed a small white disc with a pink swirl in a bowl of ramen or even a picture of ramen, that's narutomaki or fish cake.

What time of day should you eat pho? ›

With Vietnam's mostly tropical climate, it's common sense to eat hot soups, including pho and the nearly as beloved bún bò Huế, in the mornings and evenings. And in northern cities like Hanoi, where it can be downright chilly, a bowl of pho in the morning is warming, too.

Do Vietnamese eat pho everyday? ›

Do Vietnamese eat Pho and Spring Rolls everyday? No, they do not. Pho is the most popular Vietnamese dish, however it is not the staple diet for the locals, unlike steamed rice. Spring Rolls, on the other hand, is only consumed during special occasions like Lunar New Year or Wedding ceremonies.

What kind of meat goes into pho? ›

Top choices for beef pho are sirloin steak, round eye, or London broil. All of these are quick-cooking pieces of beef that won't leave you chewing for hours. My favorite of the bunch is round eye, which is what I've used today — this cut is leaner than sirloin and I like its beefy flavor, especially in this pho.

How much does pho cost in Vietnam? ›

Vietnamese cuisine vs.

The prices of food vary from 20,000 dong ($1) per bowl of Pho (Vietnamese soup) to 35000 dong ($1.65) for a plate of rice, any kind of meat and some salad. As for the drinks, you should not pay more than 10.000 dong ($0.50) for Vietnamese iced coffee with milk, commonly known as ca phe sua da.

Why does pho always make me feel better? ›

Pho is a traditional Vietnamese street food and has the same magic ingredient as chicken soup — bone broth — but incorporates more herbs and spices to naturally boost your immune system, and speed up your body's recovery time. It's the perfect comfort food — warm, hearty, and healing.

What does pho mean in Vietnamese? ›

Pho is a type of Vietnamese soup that usually consists of bone broth, rice noodles, spices, and thinly sliced meat (usually beef). Though “pho” technically refers to the noodles and not the soup itself, most people consider the dish a singular unit. It's often topped with herbs and bean sprouts.

Is pho good for your stomach? ›

Traditionally made pho naturally contains anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense ingredients that promote the detoxification of toxins, fight viral and bacterial infections, aid in digestion and supply the body with beneficial enzymes.

Does pho cause high blood pressure? ›

The one thing to be extra conscientious with pho is that it's very high in sodium, which can cause increased blood pressure and contribute to cardiovascular issues. (Some bowls have more than 1,000 mg, which is practically the entire allotment of recommended sodium intake for the day.)

Is pho high in sugar? ›

The Downsides of Pho

While pho is low in calories, the number of carbs in pho is quite high. These carbs can turn to sugar, and in the long run, high blood sugar levels can cause a number of chronic health conditions (such as diabetes).

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