On a ‘breakfast run’ in HCM, as we weaved through traffic outside the bustling road outside our hotel on Le Than Thon (just behind Bin Than market), we wondered what deliciousness the morning would bring.
Then on Truong Dinh rd, we came across a dozen or so small, low tables and stools sprawled across the pavement. A horde of rush hour communters and families with children on the way to school, had heads bent over, noisily slurping up steaming bowls noodles. Long, seductive strands, billowing steam and coated with sauce were pulled from bowls to mouths with a quick jerk of a hundred chopsticks…it was a sight that we knew we could not resist. And so we found ourselves a seat, quickly pointed at the words ‘rough noodles’ on a laminated sheet of menu that had an English translation (we were lucky they had one…but even if they didn’t it would have been easy enough to point at what others were eating.)
Mi Thap Cam turned out to be roughly made egg noodles . The noodles are served with pork…pork anything. You can have just pork slices or the whole pig in your bowl…intestines, stomach, liver, kidney, heart…on 2nd thought perhaps is WAS lucky they had an English menu…
The noodles themselves are truly the star. It comes dry or soup, and you can h’ave it with your noodle of choice – pho, vermicelli, egg noodles and something called tough noodles’ which the lady didn’t recommend. The egg noodles were the best – think Chinese egg noodles but drier and less starchy and with a firmer bite.
The mound of noodles is perfumed with lard. I say perfumed because the smell of lard is not overpowering. It’s subtle enough not to be greasy but aromatic enough to make your mouth water. Ohhhhh…you get a whiff of it everytime you lift the chopsticks to your mouth, but you don’t taste any overly porky or lardy flavour in the noodles themselves. Pretty amazing stuff. The whole dish is nicely balanced out with fresh, crunchy chives and tender slices of pork with just the right amount of fat to make it melt in your mouth.
If there was anything I’d choose over the Pho at Vo Thi Sau, it would have to be this!