Duck noodle soup – a delicious breakfast in Hanoi

Duck noodle soup is a specialty of Lang Son people, imported to Hanoi, becoming a breakfast change dish.

Duck noodle soup uses large and thin pho noodles. Each bowl of pho consists of small pieces of roasted duck meat with eye-catching glossy brown skin, beautifully presented. Embellished with pieces of duck sausage, thinly sliced.

Duck after cleaning, and wash with alcohol to remove odors. The skin is spread with a golden sauce of honey, or malt mixed with soy sauce. Duck belly is stuffed, then sewn and marinated for a few hours to infuse the spices before being roasted. The finished product is brown when ripe.

Duck noodle soup served with green onions and bean sprouts.  Photo: Phuong Anh
Duck noodle soup served with green onions and bean sprouts. Photo: Phuong Anh

The broth is stewed from duck broth, pork bones, onions, ginger… Unlike Hanoi beef noodle soup, which is loved by many people because of its clear broth, Lang Son duck noodle soup is dark, and glossy with fat. But this dish does not make diners tired but brings a completely new flavor: fragrant with honey leaves and greasy smell from the roasted duck.

Before serving to diners, the owner will add a spoonful of dark water, taken from a separate bowl. This is the water that is extracted from the belly of each roast duck, impregnated with spices stuffed inside such as honey leaves, onions, lemongrass, garlic, soy sauce… Many diners think that a bowl of pho is flavorful. The difference is thanks to the addition of this special “spice”.

Finally, the seller sprinkles some green onions and bean sprouts on top, adding a strange flavor to the dish. Diners eat pho with lemon, bamboo shoots soaked in chili vinegar and raw vegetables.

One of the favorite places to sell duck pho is a small restaurant located by the lake, near Ngo Thi Nham Street, Ha Dong District. The owner is a native of Lang Son. The restaurant is popular, there is no signboard, but it is always crowded with customers until 10-11pm.

Hai Dang, a regular customer of the restaurant, said that he often comes to eat every weekend. “This dish is strange. The crispy duck meat is absorbed evenly with the rich broth, creating a very delicious feeling. There is also a duck sausage dish, once you eat it, you will be addicted,” he said.

The price for each bowl of pho starts from 20,000 VND (bowl for children) and from 30,000 VND for adults. In addition to pho, the shop also sells pork legs so that diners can exchange dishes and free green tea to drink against boredom.

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