If there’s one genre of cuisine Vietnam does especially well, it’s soups. The broths are the result of pork or beef bones simmering patiently for hours on end. Pungent aromatics such as garlic, ginger or lemongrass add bite to your bowl and crisp vegetables provide the finished touch. The final product is always perfectly balanced, loaded with color and full of homegrown nam ky flavor. One of my favorite spots:
Hungry working class Saigonese get their afternoon fill at this popular noodle haunt just outside the Cho Lon bus station. They get their fill for the amazingly low price of 5.000 VND. That’s 30 cents to us Westerners. Let’s see, a stale bubble gum ball or a steaming bowl of pork essence satisfaction. Your call.
Noodle lady put the finishing touches on a couple bowls of Hu Tieu (Hoo TEE-ew), a pork stock soup that is a specialty of southern Vietnam. Make note of that pitcher of rendered pig fat in the foreground; a spoonful of that liquid delight is drizzled into every bowl. Luscious.
Another thing I love about this portable soup stand is the wood logs that keep the tin cauldron happily bubbling. No propane up in here. Quaker style. When the flame runs low she’ll just throw on some more firewood and continue pumping out the tastiest Hủ Tiếu in town.
You’re given the option of standard Hủ Tiếu tapioca noodles (foreground) or pork stuffed wontons- made fresh in front of your face. So chewy and porky are the wontons, I was hooked from the start.
But let’s not forget about the standard Hủ Tiếu. Adorned with scallions and garlic chips, it’s respectable in it’s own right.