Vietnamese Food - Hu Tieu

Hu Tieu is one of the great pan-Asian foods. The thin rice noodles in a crisp, clear seafood broth can be found in almost any South-East Asian country, and is a quick and easy comfort food.
I believe that Hu Tieu is in fact a Southern Chinese dish, but it long ago was accepted into the daily diets of people in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Every third street-stall you encounter will inevitably be selling some version of Hu Tieu.
The kind popular in Vietnam is Hu Tieu Nam Vang, Nam Vang being the old Vietnamese name for Phnom Penh. This would suggest that Cambodia is acknowledged as the source of the most delicious combination, which in this case is a couple of thin slices of pork, a prawn, a prawn cracker, some slices of liver, an intestine or two and the tiniest smattering of pork mince. This is served with a plate of greens, normally bean sprouts and chrysanthemum leaves. Some of the more famous Hu Tieu shops in Ho Chi Minh City are run by Cambodians, lending a real air of authenticity to the dish.
There is something quite delicious about the Hu Tieu stock, and it is a great favourite snack of the drunken and the partying. I think this is because it is light on the stomach and oddly unsatisfying - 10 or 15 minutes after a bowl of Hu Tieu one is invariably ravenously hungry once more.


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