Phuong Restaurant in Garden Grove is an old-school dive in Little Saigon, and most of the tables of elders will get an order of bánh hoi, a dish of noodle sheets. But Phuong’s most famous meal by far is the hu tieu my tho, a soup of kitchen-sink proportions, not just in size, but also in idiom. Hu tieu is a genre with a broth derived from seafood and pork stock, bobbing with clear, chewy tapioca noodles, and then a zoo of meats. Phuong packs in shrimp, fish paste, barbecued pork, even hard-boiled quail eggs, and you can order the soup with the broth in the bowl, or on the side, for optimal dunking. It’s Bootsy Collins in a bowl, the funk of all the ingredients boiling into one another as you accentuate it with scoops of chili and hoison sauces, plus pickled jalapeños and garlic.
Yesterday, our new art director asked me about the hu tieu place I had just plugged on Good Food with Evan Kleiman on KCRW-FM 89.9. "Hu tieu? I don't like hu tieu," I replied. "No, you specifically m... More »
Even in the messy world of Vietnamese dining—in which the gentlest noodle slurp unleashes a cascade of soup drippings; a bite into a bánh mì explodes with shards of crumbs; hands-on eating, folding, dipping for crawfish, egg rolls and bánh xéo... More »
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