Mì Quảng Quang Noodle Soup – 338 of 365

Mì Quảng

Yes, we’ve stopped along the way already to sample this broth and noodle dish popularly known as mì Quảng.  One at Binh Thanh Market was passable; another attempt from a restaurant in town was truly deplorable.  Much like my quest for bun cha, finding the perfect bowl of mì Quảng in Saigon has been quite the daunting task, and I have lost count how many bowls I have sampled by now in the elusive search for one suiting my tastes.

In fact, the best bowl of this stuff I have ever had was in Atlanta years ago served up in a pho parlor by a woman named Phuong.  At the time I could never have imagined I’d one day be living in Vietnam and eating Phuong’s delicious foods in their native habitat.

Just a short walk away from my apartment is a new restaurant in the market street called Anh Em.  Arriving on foot is of course an exercise in patience in the early morning hours as the narrow street is choked with vendors sprawled anywhere an everyone an inch of pavement is available and horrendous motorbike traffic .  I watched as an elderly woman grabbed onto a motorbike and helped “push” it along through the heaving mass of humanity ebbing and flowing to no real rhythm except chaos.  I followed her lead and swam upstream against the current.

A huge sign out front of this shop advertises mì Quảng so of course I bit.  I was beginning to think I was going to need to take a field trip by bus to this city mythical of Quảng, wherever it is, to find the real deal.   Of course with this attitude, I went in not expecting much.  I am pleased to report I had a perfect bowl of this food that is really neither soup nor just noodles.  It is not a soup since only enough broth is ladled in to cover the noodles, shrimp, pork sausage, pork on bone, hard boiled quail egg, peanuts.  Yet it’s not a noodle only dish since that wonderful annatto see oil tinted nectar begs to be spooned right down our food hole.

Adding mint and other assorted herbs along with a spicy, oily sauce elevated the sweet-spicy flavor of the broth just that much more.  This bowl had it all, heat, sweet, salt and sour in every bite.  Even the bits of omelet were an interesting and perfect touch and the crunchy rice crisps softened so nicely in this red-hued bath.  Had I been raised in a barn, I would have just lowered my face right into that white porcelain dish and lapped up every last bite.  I did the next best thing…I tilted the bowl to make sure my spoon collected every last drop.

As you can see, I truly enjoyed this one.  I’ve got to make the most of my remaining weeks in Vietnam.  I will be back again for another flavor packed breakfast right off the equally flavor packed streets.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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