Soup of the Day

Is Hu Tieu New to You?

This Vietnamese soup comes with a blend of noodles and intriguing add-ons.

By Robb Walsh December 16, 2013

This weekend I wandered into a restaurant called Phan Ky Hu Tieu Mi My Tho in Chinatown and tried hu tieu (pronounced: hoo tee-u), a wonderful Vietnamese noodle soup that I had never heard of before. The chef, Tam Tran, makes her rich broth with pork bones and dried shrimp, among other ingredients.

The soup comes with chunks of cooked pork on the bone, pork liver slices, poached shrimp, fried garlic, and caramelized shallots. The herb plate includes lettuce leaves, sprouts, jalapeño slices, and lime quarters.

Phan Ky Hu Tieu Mi My Tho
11602 Bellaire Blvd

At Phan Ky, they offer several combination of thick or thin egg noodles and rice noodles. I got the #2 with thick egg noodles. Phan Ky restaurant is known for a dry version of the dish in which the noodles come on the side and are dipped in the soup as you eat so they don't get soggy.

But there are also some fascinating extras available in the appetizer section.

Xi quach is a serving of the pork bones used to make the broth; you can get a large or small size bowl. The bones come with a little dish of dipping sauce—it's half hoisin and half "secret sauce," a dark brown homemade dried chili concotion that's Tam Tran's recipe.

Tearing apart the bones and dunking the falling-apart tender pork pieces in the sauce is a highly recommended preamble to lunch. (I want to put this on a bao bun and call it a BBQ soup pork sandwich.)

The last part of the Phan Ky Hu Tieu Mi My Tho resaurant name refers to the Mekong Delta city of My Tho that is famous for this dish. There are two other versions of the soup—the Cambodian version is probably the original, it's called hu tieu Nam Vang and includes different vegetables. 

It looks like there are several Chinatown restaurants serving hu tieu Nam Vang, anybody have a favorite?

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