HANOI – A pot of broth filled with sprouts and meat patties, radiating fragrance at the intersection of Mrs. Tinh’s Cau Dong market, attracts many domestic and foreign diners.
Bun nuoc is one of the dishes with many variations that is favored by Hanoians, including vermicelli with bamboo shoots. A bowl of vermicelli with round balls flavored with shiitake mushrooms, pork, and bamboo shoots mixed in broth simmered from bones attracts many diners when coming to Hanoi.
Located near Dong Xuan market, the busiest market in Hanoi, Ms. Nguyen Thi Tinh’s noodle shop with bamboo shoots (69 years old) is a small sidewalk space with an area of about 25 m2, covered with green tarpaulin and covered with clothes. served with plastic tables and chairs. The shop is open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day.
Mrs. Tinh (pictured) learned the vermicelli recipe from an aunt who has been selling the restaurant for more than 30 years. In 1996, she started selling at the gate of Cau Dong market on Cau Dong street, Dong Xuan ward, Hoan Kiem district. “Back then, I sold with a pair of baskets, bamboo baskets and a few small wooden chairs for customers to sit and eat with their hands, without a table like now,” she said.
Around the early 2000s, she rented space at the beginning of Cau Dong street, opposite 19 Nguyen Thien Thuat and maintained it until now. With a convenient location, near major markets and Hanoi’s old quarter, the restaurant attracts a large number of diners, including workers, students, locals and foreign tourists. .
Many diners passing by, especially foreigners, are attracted by the pot of broth filled with sprouts, meat patties, bamboo shoots, and blood, steaming in front of the restaurant’s door.
The pot of broth is made from pork bones and simmered for about two hours, without adding any spices such as cinnamon, anise, or cardamom. “The noodles are made from pork and shiitake mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, pepper, and pieces of soaked bamboo shoots, bringing the typical aroma of vermicelli noodles,” Ms. Tinh revealed. Every day, she wakes up at 4 a.m. to import fresh ingredients that day and process them before opening for sale.
Instead of pre-packaged pork rolls, Ms. Tinh used pureed pork, mixed with some flour, used a plastic spoon to shape it into pieces about 5-6 cm long, and dropped them directly into the pot of water to cook. The sweetness secreted from the meat helps make the broth more flavorful, without needing to add too much MSG or other spices.
When cooked, the balls turn white like chicken breasts but are loose, spongy, have a certain toughness, and float to the top of the pot.
The vermicelli is blanched in the pot of broth for about 10 seconds, then Mrs. Tinh uses a spoon to scoop out the sprouts, pig’s blood, and bamboo shoots cooked at the bottom of the pot and put them into a bowl. Add about 4 – 5 pieces of meat patties and green onions to complete a hot bowl of noodles sprouting bamboo shoots in the cold weather of Hanoi.
Unlike regular vermicelli and pho dishes, vermicelli with bamboo shoots does not have raw vegetables served with it. Diners can season with kumquats, chili garlic vinegar and chili sauce.
All the toppings are arranged on the surface, making the bowl of vermicelli more attractive. The sprouts have the toughness of meat, the crunchiness of wood ear mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms. Soft meat and pork blood patties combined with thick, chewy and sweet pieces of bamboo shoots create a bowl of rice vermicelli with bamboo shoots that satisfies all diners’ tastes.
Mr. Ly Minh Hung (photo) living in Hanoi has been a regular customer of the restaurant for nearly 7 years. He said he came to eat at the restaurant before getting married. Now that he has young children, he and his wife still take their children to the restaurant every week because “bun sprouted with bamboo shoots is easy to eat, can be enjoyed all year round, is not complicated to prepare, has a fragrant and delicious flavor,” he said.
A bowl of noodles sprouting bamboo shoots at the restaurant is sold at many prices depending on customer needs, from 20,000 VND to 50,000 VND. On average, Ms. Tinh sells about 300 bowls a day. “About 5-7 years ago, I sold more than 1,000 bowls a day. In recent years, partly because many new shops opened, partly because of economic difficulties, the quantity is less,” Ms. Tinh shared.
Because the shop is located at an intersection, near market roads, there is a lot of traffic at almost all hours. Diners coming to the restaurant should pay attention to moving and parking neatly to avoid causing traffic jams.