Mỳ Vằn Thắn Won Ton Soup – 107 of 365

mỳ vằn thắn

The front desk clerk at my hotel in Hanoi asked me where I wanted to go.  I responded with, “Nowhere, I am taking a walk.”  She looked thoroughly confused and asked if she could call me a taxi.  I replied again, “No thank you.  I am just going for a walk.”  Some rapid fire chit chat with her coworker followed and finally culminated with some hand covered mouths and nervous giggling.

She obviously wasn’t buying my explanation so she tried again:  “Where you go?  I call taxi.”  Yet no matter how much I tried to explain I was without agenda for the morning, she pressed on.  This concept of wandering aimlessly through Hanoi finally brought her churning wheels to a grinding halt with an exasperated, “Why you walk?  Use rich money for taxi.”  I suppose when we cross a certain perceived income level in Vietnam using the two feet beneath us becomes, well, beneath us.  I seem to have delivered her to a place well beyond her comprehension.

150 Yen Phu Street

Rather than sticking to a vinyl taxi seat watching the meter jump with every wrong turn and long way the driver can find, my own two feet took me on a journey into old Hanoi.   Watching people so different then me going about their daily lives is my idea of a perfect morning.   About all we seem to have in common is enjoying the same street foods, but that is quite alright.   Food is enough sometimes to bridge the cultural gap and create a sense of understanding on a very basic level.  We all have to eat, right?

One particular open air shop house at 150 Yen Phu Street a short walk from the hotel had a sign advertising mỳ vằn thắn and the scents from the boiling cauldron of broth out on the sidewalk drew me in.   With my interest piqued I picked a seat and within minutes a steaming bowl of broth with egg noodles and vegetables arrived.   Much to my surprise several pork stuffed wontons floated just below the surface and both the fried and steamed varieties were delicious.  Imagine a homemade chicken stock with homemade noodles and you have some seriously good won ton soup served Hanoi style.

At 20,000 Dong, or just under a buck, the price is right for an amazing way to start the day.    And see…had I used my “rich money” for a taxi, I would have cruised right on past this place without even noticing it.   Upon my return to the hotel four hours later, the front desk woman asked where I had been all morning.  I mentioned I had sampled mỳ vằn thắn and her wheels began spinning once again.  She looked at her watch and just said, “Maybe next time you take taxi.  Faster for food.  You walk long time for mỳ vằn thắn.”  I just didn’t have the energy left to explain sometimes the journey is about more than just finding breakfast.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

One Comment on “Mỳ Vằn Thắn Won Ton Soup – 107 of 365”

  1. April 21, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    In the South (Saigon) we called it mì hoành thánh. 🙂

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