Vietnamese Noodles 101
I went to Cafe TH the other day and had a bowl of mi hoanh thanh for lunch. It was a delicious bowl of soup, and a great place to eat it. The location used to be the home of Thiem Hung sandwich shop. In 2006, Thiem Hung was purchased by new UH grad, Minh Nguyen, who changed the name slightly to Cafe TH. He has since become one of the most well-loved restaurant owners in Houston.
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Nguyen long ago departed from the dogma of authenticity to cater to his regular customers with specials like vegan pho and vegan curry, and a banh mi sandwich with quadruple meatballs. If you've never been to Cafe TH or met Minh Nguyen, stop by soon.
And if you've never had a bowl of mi hoanh thanh, this is a good place to try it. A small bowl is $5.55, and the large is $7.39. Better known in English as wonton noodle soup, this is the most approachable of the many Vietnamese soups. Kids love it.
The quick home recipe for this soup is incredibly easy. You start with two dozen fresh heads-on shrimp. Peel the shrimp, put the shells and heads in a stock pot with fish sauce and water and make the broth. (Cafe TH and most other Vietnamese restaurants use a complex Vietnamese canh broth.)
To make the wonton filling, grind the shrimp meat in the blender with some seasonings. (Save a few shrimp to float around in the bowl.) The dried egg noodles are available at most grocery stores and the elegant-looking wontons are actually just straight-out-of-the-package wonton wrappers with a wad of the seasoned ground shrimp folded up in the middle. Pretty easy, huh?
You'll find a detailed recipe at Wandering Chopsticks.