Looking for Vietnamese noodles other than Pho?
My co-worker took me to this Vietnamese noodle restaurant in lawndale. here's my review - i had ,not sure the name but it was #1 on the menu, this soup noodles that had chicken, shrimp, pork, krab meat and fish balls. There were also all kinds of condiments to go with it. I took some pictures as well. The food was pretty good and very different than Pho. Since i've never had any other types of Vietnamese food, this was an awesome find. Is there any other types of Vietnamese cuisine that anyone would recommend?
There are several kinds of Viet noodle -- banh pho is what you're most accustomed to, but what the restaurant you frequented specialises in is mi -- egg noodles.
I urge you to look at my "Explorations on Brookhurst" reviews. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, it's just that you'll get more out of the posts than I can write in a reply. Some things for you to try -- bun bo Hue, which is a red soup; com tam, which is "broken" rice with various toppings; bun, which is room-temperature rice noodles with vegetables and toppings, like a salad; bun cha, which is like the same deal but the meat is swimming in this delectable sauce; banh mi, which is Vietnamese baguette sandwiches -- the cheapest lunch in the county at an average of $2 for a 9-inch sandwich; bo bay mon, which is "seven courses of beef"; cha ca thanh long, which is grilled fish with dill, doesn't sound Viet but definitely is... it goes on and on and on and on.
Looks yummy! The place you went to looks like Mi Tieu Chau (Mi= noodles, Tieu Chau= The Trieu Chau/Chieu Chau region of chinese food where this type of soup comes from). You ate what we Vietnamese call Hu Tieu, a rice noodle soup that is made from pork bones. It can be served with the thick rice noodles that you had, or the thinner Pho type noodles is common as well. I always love ordering the chinese fried donuts (they're savory, not sweet) called dau chao quay, and dunk them in my soup.
Other type of Vietnamese noodle soups you may want to try -
Pho - you already know this, it's the beef based noodle soup
Bun Rieu - Bun is a rice-based, thin, spaghetti like noodle. Bun Rieu uses these noodles in a shrimp based broth. It is usually a little spicy, and can contain some sea snail meat as well (then it is called Bun Rieu Oc). It usually also has some cubes of fried tofu floating in it. The Rieu part is tradionally made from Crab brains/roe, but is now typically made from eggs/shrimp/shrimp paste/meat.
Other versions of bun soup are Bun Thang with shredded chicken, pork sausage, fried egg strips in a chicken based broth, Bun Vit Mang which has duck and bamboo in it, and bun bo hue, a spicy beef noodle soup.
After that, you can try different versions of Mi, which is the yellow egg-based noodle, similar to a chow mein style noodle but thinner. Mi Hoanh Thanh is wonton noodle soup, and you could also substitute Mi noodles in the Hu Tieu that you had with the chicken, shrimp, pork, krab, fishballs soup. You can even go crazy and order "Hu Tieu Mi" which gives you half of each kind of noodle in the same bowl for a true texture/taste contrast.
After Hu Tieu, Pho, Mi and Bun type noodles, you can advance to Mien. It's a glass thread noodle made from mung beans, and it's more rare of a find to see at restaurants. Mien Ga is common, a chicken noodle type of soup that uses these type of noodles.
And if you get tired of the soups, any and all of these kinds of noodles can be featured in stir-fry dishes. Hu Tieu Xao is stir fried rice noodles with vegetables, meat and gravy, Pho Ap Chao is similar but usually imparts some wok-hey type burn on the noodles which is delicious. There is also Mi Xao, and you can choose to have the egg noodles deep fried crispy, or stir fried with the gravy so it becomes soft like a chow mein.
Bun does not stir fry well, but it is used in a cold salad like dish with various meats and a nuoc cham fish sauce dressing. Bun Thit Nuong is an example of this kind of dish. Finally, Mien Xao is a great way to enjoy the glass noodles in a stir fry. A typical dish is Mien Xao Cua, where it is stir fried with crab meat.
I hope you get to try all of these dishes!!
re: Das Ubergeek
yeah we call that, in cantonese, 'wa keew' or mandarin, 'hua chiao'... which simply refers to people who've emigrated to neighboring countries for business, refuge from war, etc. chiu chow/trieu chau people are Chinese that headed over to Vietnam. they also brought along their 'hu tieu' soup noodles (yellow egg noodles and white rice noodles.) taiwanese people are also from a province near chiu chow, in the fujian province... so it's not a surprise that in taiwan, they eat something called "gwo tiao" which is rice noodle soup. and i believe 'gwo tiao' is the same as 'hu tieu'. the chinese have also spread their hu tieu/gwo tiao dish to thailand... ever have thai boat noodles? those are called "kway tiao".
as for the similarities in vietnamese/cantonese names were probably devised by the french. they simply showed their papers w/ chinese characters and translated it...
tran = chan
trung/truong = chung
dao = yao
dang = yang
le = lee
ho = ho
nguyen = could be yuen/yuan
trinh = chin
phuong = fong/fang
huong = huang/wong??
i love the cultural mix in southeast asia - that's why the food variation is huge.
if you're on the westside, i think your best option is Pho 99 on wilshire. i remember seeing banh mi bo kho which is beef stew served w/ bread.... so they might have a version where they use noodles in it. if you head to chinatown, there are plenty of places that serve non-pho dishes... but they are mainly Chiu Chow restaurants... so there's a heavy chinese, cambodian, vietnamese and chiu chow food. checkout the noodle whore blog for a few options.