This month, I’ve decided to take an adventure towards District 11, where few expats, tourists and city-centre dwellers tend to venture.
District 11 is one of the newer districts and is basically an expansion of Chinatown in District 5 and District 6. Located in western Ho Chi Minh City, it is home to two popular entertainment centres: the Phu Tho horse racetrack and Dam Sen Park (a Vietnamese take on a theme park). There are also countless, excellent local eateries that most expats and tourists have never heard of.
Just a couple metres down hem 323 off of Minh Phung Street you’ll find this no-name hu tiu mi vendor. To the locals, it is known as Hu Tiu Mi Hem Minh Phung. It’s owned by a Teochew (ethnic Chinese originating from Guangdong province) lady and her family for over 30 years. This is an old vendor that, until recently, I had never visited in person because it is so far from my home in District 1. But I am very familiar with the food after receiving so many deliveries over the years and hearing many Vietnamese talk about it. The food here is indeed wonderful, so it is time to give the vendor its recognition.
The stand serves an array of noodles soup such as nui (Vietnamese comfort pasta soup), banh canh (a thick Vietnamese noodle made from tapioca flour or a mixture of rice and tapioca flour) and hoang thanh (wonton). However, they are most known for their hu tiu mi, a combination of hu tiu (flat, white rice noodles) and mi (Vietnamese yellow egg noodles). Despite the standards, many choose to customise their orders, but all of the noodles are served in a clear pork broth soup.
Their hu tiu mi is amazing and is comprised of shrimp, fish balls, squid, fish, sliced pork, ground pork, and pieces of stomach, heart, liver and kidney. Chopped green onions, bean sprouts, cilantro and lettuce leaves are also added to the mix and served with sides of fermented cabbage, sliced fresh chilli, lime, chilli paste, ground pepper, soy sauce and chilli sauce. Talk about a buffet in a soup bowl.
Every condiment and sauce is stored in individual closed-lid bowls and containers, making this street vendor one of the cleanest and friendliest in Saigon.