HANOI – Importing lemongrass and shrimp paste from Hue to Hanoi to cook broth, although it has only been open for more than a year, Ms. Phuong’s Hue beef noodle shop has sold more than 500 bowls a day.
Hue beef noodle soup is a specialty of Hue people, present in many other provinces such as Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City.
In Hanoi, to enjoy Hue beef noodle soup sold by Hue people themselves, diners can go to 24 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh district.
The owner, Ms. Duong Quynh Phuong, 41 years old, (photo) said her family has a family tradition of selling Hue beef noodle soup in Hue City. After starting her own family in Hanoi, in September 2022, Ms. Phuong opened a restaurant selling Hue beef noodle soup cooked according to a family recipe and reducing some ingredients to suit the taste of Northerners.
The shop opens two hours: 7am – 2pm and 5pm – 9pm, with two floors to serve customers. The first floor uses fans, has 5 tables, the second floor uses air conditioning, an area of about 60 m2, serving about 25 – 30 guests at the same time.
In front of the restaurant is a stall containing all kinds of meat and vegetables. Next to the glass cabinet is a pot of broth and a large basket of vermicelli noodles used in Hue beef noodle soup.
According to Ms. Phuong, the soul of the Hue beef noodle dish is the broth simmered from pork and beef bones. In particular, the two main ingredients to create the original Hue pot of broth are lemongrass and shrimp paste, which she imported from Hue.
When she started selling it, she added different types of meat, tendons, and beef ribs to the pot of broth to keep it warm, helping the meat soften and add sweetness. “Because Northern people eat less spicy food than Hue people, I changed the boiled chili into cashew oil to add color,” Ms. Phuong shared.
Ms. Phuong revealed a special ingredient that few Hue beef noodle shops in Hanoi have, which is crab balls. Crab balls are made from pureed crab meat and bricks, mixed with flour. Use a spoon to shape the dough into balls about 3 cm in diameter, drop into the pot of broth. After being cooked, the crab balls are golden brown, absorbing the sweetness of the broth but still retaining the characteristic aroma of crab bricks.
Every morning, the restaurant sells out two pots of broth, and in the afternoon replaces it with new water to avoid reusing old water, making the dish salty.
When the customer orders, the vermicelli noodles are hot blanched, put in a bowl, add the required meats and then pour in broth. The vermicelli noodles are about 2-3 times larger than regular vermicelli noodles, and were custom-made by Ms. Phuong.
Diners can choose one or more toppings such as pork trotters, pork ribs, tendons, crab cakes, add blood to the bowl, and increase or decrease the quantity as desired.
Beef ribs are an ingredient that many people love and order more. After being cleaned, the beef ribs are placed in a pot of broth and simmered until tender, then taken out and drained. The price of a piece of ribs ranges from 40,000 – 100,000 VND depending on the size.
Hue beef noodle soup at the restaurant is served with a basket of raw vegetables (banana flower, bean sprouts, basil, lemon). On the dining table there is garlic vinegar, pickled purple onions, and steamed chili for diners to season according to taste.
Standing out on the white background of the vermicelli noodles are brick-like yellow-brown crab balls and green green onions. Beef and pork trotters are stacked to the rim of the bowl. The broth is light yellow in color, has the sweetness of meat bones stewed for many hours, the gentle aroma of lemongrass and the typical salty taste of shrimp paste.
Because the broth has been reduced to suit Northern tastes, the flavor of the Hue beef noodle bowl at the restaurant is sweeter, less spicy and salty than the original, according to Ms. Phuong.
Working at a company on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Ms. Dang Thu Thuy (yellow shirt) has become a regular customer of the restaurant since opening and often invites her colleagues over for lunch.
“The broth is moderate. If you add a lot of chili, it can taste quite similar to beef noodle soup in Hue, but you should be careful because the chili is quite spicy,” Ms. Thuy shared. She also suggests that diners should try the beef shank at the restaurant, the meat is firm, soft and sweet.
Customers coming to the restaurant are mainly residents, workers, and office workers working in the surrounding area. Tourists coming to the restaurant are mainly people from the Central region. The restaurant is often crowded during breakfast hours (8am – 10am) and lunch (11am – 1pm).
On average, every day, Ms. Phuong sells 500 – 600 bowls, about 10 kg of meat, not including tendons, ribs, and crab balls. On weekends, many customers come, the number can reach 700 – 800 bowls.
In addition to Hue beef noodle soup sold at prices ranging from 45,000 – 65,000 VND per bowl, the restaurant also sells Hue cakes such as banh loc, banh nam, banh beo cup, banh hoi, spring rolls, priced at 35,000 – 70,000 VND.
Photo,Video: Internet (Vinlove.net)