Located in an airy, shaded driveway of Villa Van Xuan with a dozen or so metal tables is Hue Hung Tra Gia. There is big signage right in front with a stack of steamed dim sum, so you will easily recognise the place. From the entrance looking in, Hue Hung looks more like a casual tea garden with tables. The reason why I mention tea is because Hue Hung is known as a tiem tra (tea shop) to the locals instead of an eatery.
The tea shop opened in 2000, founded by five brothers and sisters. They originally opened as a casual morning tea and dim sum place, but they have since expanded their menu to include some of their signature dishes, such as wonton noodles, dried noodles with barbecue pork, shrimp and a broth that is to die for. What makes this place unique is everything here is made fresh daily. They make their own noodles – a rarity – wonton dumplings and dim sum.
The proprietors also make an array of fresh dim sum, including steamed barbecue pork buns, prawn and minced pork dumplings, shu mai (xiu mai), banh duc, or non-glutinous rice flour, (available only on Sunday) and xoi (sticky rice). Old-style tea is served in a pot with tiny tea cups to coincide with their dim sum. The cup is small but cool. Nice teas are meant to be sipped like espresso instead of gulped. The fresh soy bean drink, served hot or cold, is also quite nice if tea is not your thing. The drawback is they tend to sell out of their dim sum by 8.30am.
Hue Hung serves Cantonese-style noodles which are handmade daily as well. This is quite rare for small local eateries, but they have been doing this since they opened. Homemade noodles usually provide a more chewy taste than store-bought ones. The wonton dumplings are cooked just right with a soft wrapper on the outside and the mixed prawn with pork is nice, tight and flavourful. You have an option of having it dry with broth on the side as well. So overall, handmade noodles, flavourful broth, tender slices of barbecue pork and amazing wonton dumplings define this delicious dish.
The five brother-and-sister team does pretty much everything and it is such a nice feel to see a family-run business click the way they do. They are friendly and accommodating. I highly recommend it if you’re a fan of good noodles and dim sum. Drop by and have a taste but come early. They open from 6am and close before noon.
Hue Hung Tra Gia
26 Nguyen Binh Khiem, D1
(between Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Nguyen Van Thu Street)
Tristan Ngo is the Chef Patron and Owner of Skewers Restaurant and The Elbow Room.