Hanoi fish noodle shop was once on American television


Van Fish noodle restaurant in Quan Thanh once appeared on the American television channel CNN, introduced as “one of 5 delicious dishes to try” when coming to Hanoi.

Without heavy advertising on social networking sites, Van fish noodle shop at 174 Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, still attracts many customers. Nguyen Thi Van (52 years old) said she opened the restaurant in 2010 at 105 Quan Thanh. Initially, she planned to sell dishes made from seafood such as crab spring rolls, shrimp spring rolls, and fish spring rolls. But considering the capital source to maintain the restaurant, she switched to selling fish noodles because the price of ingredients was cheaper than seafood.

In June 2019, after the US-North Korea Summit, Quan Van’s fish noodle dish was suggested by the US television channel CNN as one of the 5 delicious dishes to try when coming to Hanoi. In addition to fish vermicelli, the restaurant also sells fish cakes, shrimp cakes, crab vermicelli noodles, and egg coffee.

After the restaurant was introduced, many foreign tourists, especially European tourists, came to enjoy it. There were more and more customers coming every day, so by the end of 2019, Ms. Van moved the shop to its current address with a larger area.

Van fish noodle soup is located at 174 Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi.
Van fish noodle soup at 174 Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi.

The current facade of the shop has an area of ​​about 20 m2, divided into two spaces. On the right side is the path leading to three spaces of the restaurant including the outside, inside and attic, with a total area of ​​nearly 100 m2. On the left side is a small kitchen area where staff carry out the steps of processing fish noodle soup.

In front of the kitchen is a glass cabinet labeled with the word “Van”, used to preserve ingredients for making fish noodle soup such as fried fish, fish cakes, peeled boiled shrimp, and accompanying vegetables. In the kitchen there are two pots of broth, two bamboo baskets lined with cloth to hold vermicelli and red rice cakes.

Ms. Van makes two types of fish noodle soup for diners to choose according to their preferences. One type is fish fillet, fried until golden and crispy. The other type is sliced, steamed fish. Both types use fresh fish meat, not marinated with spices to maintain the original taste.

After filtering the fish bones, the meat is simmered for 3-4 hours to make broth. The seasoning of the broth is sticky rice wine to create a mild acidity and sea worms to create a sweet, light taste. “Do not use fish heads to avoid the broth being fishy, ​​cloudy and greasy. The broth is always freshly cooked every day,” Ms. Van said.

In addition to shrimp, fish cakes, and red rice cakes imported from Hai Phong, the remaining ingredients were obtained by her in Hanoi. Ms. Van bought vermicelli from Phu Do village, Nam Tu Liem district, and tilapia was delivered the same day from Thanh Tri.

At 3:30 a.m., Ms. Van went to the restaurant to receive the vegetables and fish delivered and prepared it herself, filtered the meat, washed the vegetables, and chopped the onions. Wait until guests arrive before the fish begins to be fried to ensure crispiness. At 5:30 a.m., four employees came to the restaurant to clean up and prepare to open for sale.

The shop sells from 6am to 3pm every day. From 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Ms. Van handed over the shop to the staff and went home to rest.

The space inside the shop, under the attic.

The glass cabinet placed in front of the shop holds ingredients for making fish noodle soup such as fried fish, fish cakes, shrimp, and vegetables.

The glass cabinet placed in front of the shop holds ingredients for making fish noodle soup such as fried fish, fish cakes, shrimp, and vegetables.

To make a bowl of fish noodle soup, the first step is to blanch the vegetables in a separate pot of broth. Vegetables are served according to the season, currently including herbs, spinach and bean sprouts. Next comes the step of blanching vermicelli and rice paper. Finally, add side dishes of your choice such as fried fish, shrimp or fish cakes, sprinkle with onions and pour in broth.

A bowl of fish noodle soup costs 40,000 VND and includes 3-4 pieces of crispy fried fish. The dark yellow-brown meat stands out on the green of the vegetables and the white of the vermicelli. The light yellow broth is accented with the red color of tomatoes, adding to the deliciousness.

The fried fish is quite old, so even though it absorbs the broth, it still retains its crispness, and when picked up, it is still firm, not soft or mushy. The fish meat is not as soft and succulent as when fried. The blanched cabbage retains its pungency and spiciness, combined with the sour and sweet taste of the broth to help diners experience a variety of flavors in one go, without the need for accompanying spices such as garlic vinegar or vinegar. chili oil.

The first time enjoying fish noodle soup at Mrs. Van’s restaurant, Mai Phuong (24 years old, Nam Tu Liem district) commented that the fish noodle dish was quite filling at an affordable price. On weekends, even though it’s not rush hour, the restaurant is quite crowded and customers come continuously, so it takes a long time to wait. Phuong was impressed with the crispy, spongy fish meat but still felt it lacked flavor due to not being marinated.

Mr. Trung (Tay Ho district) came to the restaurant for breakfast and bought it to take home, saying that the restaurant’s fish noodle soup is suitable for adult tastes and is cleanly prepared. “I bought it for my grandchild and wanted to reduce the acidity, but the restaurant’s broth was already cooked like that, and I couldn’t adjust it,” he said.

A bowl of fish noodle soup costs 40,000 VND at the restaurant.
A bowl of fish noodle soup costs 40,000 VND.

In addition to fish vermicelli, the restaurant also sells shrimp vermicelli, rice paper, vermicelli and mixed noodles, prices range from 40,000 – 50,000 VND per bowl. Starting from September when the weather is cool, there are more customers coming to the restaurant than in the summer. On a normal day, the shop sells 400 – 500 bowls. On weekends there can be more than 800 bowls. Every day the shop consumes about 80 kg of fish, 50 kg of vermicelli, and 25 kg of rice paper.

The restaurant’s peak hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. If you don’t want to wait long, diners should come on the second day of every week when the fewest customers come to the restaurant, Ms. Van said.

After the restaurant was introduced on American television, Ms. Van did not increase the price of the dishes because “the quality of the food remains the same.” She feels happy and proud to be able to contribute to promoting her homeland’s cuisine to international tourists. However, she still wants to serve Vietnamese customers with her country’s cuisine at affordable prices.

($1=24,000 VND)
Photo,Video: Internet (Vinlove.net)