Vietnamese Noodle Treats

September 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, Gourmet

The famed Vietnamese Pho is without a doubt an excellent dish – succulent thin slices of beef dumped with fresh herbs in a stock of tasty broth. It’s no wonder travelers to Vietnam would often go searching for the ultimate pho. But the country’s noodle treats is more than just that, and travelers would often miss out on Vietnam’s other noodle treats. Here are a few of the best Vietnamese noodles, for the adventurous gourmand.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Hu Tieu Nam Vang – Phnom Penh Noodle Soup

Literally meaning Phnom Penh Noodle Soup, this is a Cambodian-Chinese concoction that was tweaked to the Vietnamese palate. Nam Vang is the Vietnamese word for Phnom Penh, so you can actually find various versions of Hu Tieu (Noodle Soup) in Vietnam, with Hu Tieu Nam Vang being one of the more popular noodle soup around. The dish is a surf-and-turf mix of cooked pork, thinly sliced beef, shrimp and group pork with light vermicelli in a sweet and savory broth. The essential garnishes are important here, Chinese celery, chives, cilantro and lettuce adds an extra layer of taste into this tasty dish.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Bun Rieu Oc – Snail Soup with Crab Paste

Hailing from North Vietnam, the Bun Rieu Oc (Snail Soup with Crab Paste) is a dish featuring chunks of snails and crab roe on top of a sweet-savory broth. The dish is studded with pork ribs, tomatoes, water spinach, sliced banana blossoms, fried tofu and more, topped with the ever popular rice-noodles. The Bun Rieu is hearty, light and refreshing, but also a very complex dish, with the various flavors and textures of the snails, crab and pork ribs mixed together.

Photo credit - Geordino

Photo credit - Geordino

Bun Thit Nuong – Grilled Pork with Rice Vermicelli

This local favorite is a simple dish that is more salad than soup, a welcome break from the usual soupy-broth on Vietnam’s other favorite dishes. Literally meaning Grilled Pork with Rice Vermicelli, this dish features grilled marinated pork chops served cold on top of rice vermicelli. As is the usual in Vietnam, a host of fresh herbs accompanies the dish – Thai basil, carrot and radish pickle, as well as cucumbers, bean sprouts, and crushed roasted peanuts. Add a dash of fish sauce and chilies according to personal preference, then enjoy the collision of flavors and textures.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Banh Canh Cua – Thick Noodle Crab Soup

Banh Canh noodles are like the Vietnamese version of udon – they are thick and chewy, although they are typically made with tapioca or rice flour instead of wheat. There are various versions of Banh Canh, and the Banh Canh Cua (Thick Noodle Crab Soup) is one of the more popular amongst them. The Banh Canh Cua features chunks of crab meats and shrimp balls paired with the chewy thick noodles in a crimson broth garnished with chopped scallion.

Photo credit - Ron Diggity

Photo credit - Ron Diggity

Pho Bo Tai – Beef Rice Noodle Soup

And finally of course, it would be remiss to talk about Vietnamese noodle treats without mentioning the popular noodle dish that is Pho. The Pho Bo Tai is a version of Pho with Half-Done Beef Fillet, featuring half-done thinly sliced beef with white rice noodles dumped in a clear soupy broth. The broth is the most important fixture of the dish, and the hardest to make as well, usually by simmering beef bones, oxtails, charred onion and spices for several hours. The dish is then topped with cilantro, basil, lime, bean sprout and onions.


This post is part of WanderFood Wednesday, a Blog Carnival held by Wanderlust & Lipstick. Check them out for a visual treat of tasty dishes, or take part in the carnival yourself. Let them be an inspiration for your last minute holiday plans!


If you are planning a visit to Asia, don’t forget to check out Unearthing Asia, the best Asia travel portal focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. We have got some of the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of must-try things in Hokkaido.

Pho for the President

March 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, Feature Highlights

A recent trip to Saigon gave our contributor, Michelle Lee, the chance to explore Vietnamese hospitality in four short days. In the first part of this four-part story, she enjoyed a hearty meal of Vietnamese beef noodle (or Pho) fit for the President, more specifically, former US President Bill Clinton. After which, she explored the mazy Ben Thanh Market as well as its crowded night market and enjoyed some unique Vietnamese snacks.

Vietnamese beef noodle, or locally known as pho. Photo credit - springstep.

Vietnamese beef noodle, or locally known as pho. Photo credit - springstep.

Day 1: Pho for the President

Delicious Vietnamese gourmet are available in any part of the world, but nothing beats having the real thing at the place it originated from. From way-back before I touched down in Vietnam, the thoughts of tasty thinly sliced beef tenderloins served with rice noodles in a flavorful broth (known locally as Pho) has got me drooling in anticipation.

The city is filled with a myriad of Pho restaurants. With help from the locals, they are whittled down to only a handful best. I settled for Pho 2000, a restaurant right at the heart of town renown for playing host to former US president Bill Clinton.

The evidences are proudly hung on walls of the shop. Numerous pictures of the former US President in varying stage of blissful contentment in savoring the meal. Indeed, the local spices conjure a unique and tasty Pho Ngan (beef noodle soup), definitely one worth writing home about!

Outside the Ben Thanh Market. Photo credit - lecercle.

Outside the Ben Thanh Market. Photo credit - lecercle.

Mazy and Crowded

Next, I hop across the street to the ever-crowded and mazy Ben Thanh market, the largest retail market in the city with over 1,000 stalls selling local handicrafts, silk cloth, handbags, lacquer-ware souvenirs and decent imitations of branded wear.

You’ll find yourself getting lost in the world of Vietnamese art and craftsmanship as most of the products are handmade, with design details impossible for machines to match up to. For the entire afternoon, I found myself mastering the art of haggling and experiencing the Vietnamese culture handsomely.

In the evening, the market closes but the Night Market begins, just outside the gates of Ben Thanh Market. Hundreds of stalls springs up along the two minor side streets along the main building. This is a great place to try some local snacks, like the banh xeo (a pancake filled with beansprouts, shrimp and port), and banh can (an egg flour savoury).

Banh xeo, Vietnamese "crepes". Photo credit - flickmor.

Banh xeo, Vietnamese 'crepes'. Photo credit - flickmor.

Next, in the second part of this four part story, Michelle explores the war remnants at the Chu Chi Tunnels and the unique Vietnamese-established religion of Cao Dai.

About the Author. Michelle Lee. There is an idea behind every writing, and magic in bringing words to life. For Michelle, words create worlds beyond ours. A writer based in Singapore, Michelle seeks to inspire thoughts, ignite emotions, and explore the unfound as much as boundaries can be ventured into. Her inspirations spiral from overseas escapades filled with wild diversities of culture and traditions. “Abandoning responsibilities, work and the hustles of life to a place where everything is fresh, new and alienated. That, is sheer fascination.”