Vietnamese Chicken Soup
By Tristan Ngo
District 3 is arguably one of the most popular local eatery districts in Ho Chi Minh City.
One of the best places I’ve eaten at in District 3 can be found off of Ky Dong Street. Get here and venture down alley number 14, which is buzzing with various small restaurants and food stands, to find Pho Mien Ga Ky Dong. This semi-outdoor dining establishment has an open kitchen and seating capacity of around 100 people. Rows of long, metal tables remind me of a cafeteria or mess hall where everyone sits across and next to one another, so expect to share your table with others. It’s a bright, crowded and noisy place reminiscent of a Hong Kong dim sum joint on any given Sunday.
The main attraction is pho and mien ga. In English mien is “glass or cellophane” noodle and ga means chicken. So if you guessed that mien ga is chicken noodle soup, go to the head of the class. Despite the pho name at the beginning of the restaurant’s sign, mien ga is the specialty. You can ask for extra sides of chicken meat, liver, heart and young eggs to add to the soup. The broth is well flavoured and full of spring onions, coriander and basil. Dip the strips of chicken from the soup in the ramekins of salt, pepper and chilli. Don’t forget to squeeze a bit of lemon into the mixture to give the chicken a bit of zing.
Be sure to order a freshly made seasonal fruit smoothie, rau ma (pennywort) or my favourite nuoc mia (sugar cane) juice, for a refreshing finish.
Pho Mien Ga Ky Dong
14/5 Bis Ky Dong Street, Ward 9, D3
0 88 43 56 30
Open daily from 5am to midnight, but closed four days for Tet
VND 8,000/fresh juice
Tristan Ngo is the chef and owner of The Elbow Room and Skewers, two popular restaurants in District 1. You can contact him at email@example.com.