Ba Ria-Vung Tau noodle soup has Saigonese hooked

By Vi Yen   November 3, 2020 | 02:32 am PT
In coastal Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province there is a noodle soup dish so popular even customers in nearby Saigon are demanding it.

A restaurant at 73 Hoang Hoa Tham Street, Vung Tau Town that serves saltwater shrimp noodle soup has become a familiar destination for tourists visiting the southern province in recent years.

The spacious, rustic eatery is always filled with customers, with orders even arriving from Saigon.

The vermicelli counter where the dishes are made. Photo by VnExpress/Vi Yen.

The counter where the dish is created. Photo by VnExpress/Vi Yen.

The diner menu comprises only vermicelli and rice noodles, though toppings include a variety of shrimp, squid, shrimp cakes, fish cakes and snail cakes.

Many customers might be surprised to discover the use of soft and smooth saltwater shrimp cakes instead of their common crab counterparts.

Here, a pot of tomato and pork bone broth is always boiling besides the door, filling the diner with the savory scent of seafood, along with fried tofu coated in a thin layer of oil.

A bowl of noodle soup including squid, shrimp, octopus and beef is priced at VND75,000 ($3).

The broth pot with tomatoes, bones and pork. Photo by VnExpress/Vi Yen.

The tomato and pork bone broth. Photo by VnExpress/Vi Yen.

The broth is rich and flavorful, with a spot of sourness supplied by the tomatoes and sweetness from the seafood and pork bone. You can add a few slices of lemon then season with shrimp paste and minced fresh chili.

The dish is commonly served with mung bean sprouts and grated water spinach, similar to the southern region's other crab noodle soup dishes.

Customers may also pick their own condiments including fish sauce, soy sauce, pickled chili, and homemade satay. All herbs are stored in cool conditions to ensure freshness.

A full portion of the delicious vermicelli dish with shrimp paste and fresh chilli on the side. Photo by VnExpress/Vi Yen.

A full portion of saltwater shrimp noodle soup with shrimp paste and fresh chili on the side. Photo by VnExpress/Vi Yen.

If ordering from Saigon, be prepared to cover shipping costs. Deliveries typically include a bag of frozen broth, frozen shrimp cakes, and fresh shrimp and squid.

Remember to boil the fresh shrimp and squid separately to preserve their flavor. After that, treat the noodles to a hot water rinse and place them into a bowl, before adding the seafood on top. Pour the broth into the bowl and dig in.

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