Mi Quang @ Quan Hue in Lion Plaza (San Jose)
A friend had recommended Quán Huế in San Jose’s Lion Plaza food court on Tully Road for banh khot. I stopped there last month . . . and got distracted by the Mì Quảng. Listed on the menu as Quang special noodle soup, $8, that’s a little misleading.
There is some soup, a light but intensely flavored stock that tastes of pork, fish sauce and shrimp shells, that’s deployed more as a sauce. Just enough to keep the noodles loose and moist. Otherwise the bowl grows up from a base of the signature yellow turmeric-stained rice noodles laced with plucked bean sprouts. Quite top heavy, starting with all manner of shrimp: boiled tail-on shrimp, chewy and briny dried shrimp and big hunks of deep-fried shrimp cakes, then building up with ground pork, slivers of chicken, cubes of daikon, and finishing with a flourish of chopped cilantro and fresh mint, fresh ground pepper, fried shallots, and ground peanuts. For some extra excitement, a whole Thai chile pepper and half a lime are provided too. Some broken shards of banh trang (black sesame cracker) add crunch.
Yes, there’s a lot going on in mi quang. Here’s a closer look at the yellow noodles hidden under that onslaught.
I’m sure I’ll be back to try Banh khot or the Banh bot loc Alice Patis mentions (2005) here. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/36073 But admittedly, it will be a struggle to not be distracted again by the abundantly delicious Mi Quang.