Everyone in Saigon has an opinion on food. I’m always asking where’s the best this and best that and always get a reply. Last night I asked a xe om driver if he knew a decent mi hoanh thanh (wonton noodle soup) stall in the vicinity. He did. And here we are at a front of house stall at 276A Cach mang thang tham street in District 10. I order a take home wonton soup family bucket. This gives me five minutes to sniff around as my order proceeds along the highly efficient, rapidfire, steamy production line. There are two guys in charge. The elder, with belly out, is on wontons, leaves, greasy fried crackers and thin, fatfree pork slivers. The younger, streetside and belly covered, has the soup and noodle end of things covered.
Great bar stool seating, wooden counter with room for three or four punters, decked out with bare essential condiments. The resto is packed to the fluorescent tubes. Not a spare seat in the shack. Everyone’s wating for the same dish. It’s a one dish house.
I love these kinda seats. You’re right in on the action and the noise,
half on the street, half not, target of any flying wontons, greens of knocked over soy sauce. Plus wonton stalls are packed with bonus fun points in the form of mucho steamo. A
ringside seat assures frequent blast of sweet pork scented vapours. I imagine a stall like this in China would be a fabulous gathering spot in winter. With year round heat, Saigon can’t compete with Franz Klammer friendly China, but you catch my drift.
Saigon mi hoanh thanh can be a bit fatty. But not here. It’s a light, slightly peppery, very slightly sweet pork stock soup. The fresh yellow, mi noodles are served al dente with just the quickest flash in the (nuoc leo?) pot stall front, followed by a few seconds in the main stall soup vat. Throw in some he (a kinda garlic chive), a single green leaf, greasy cracker, three or four thin slices of pork and five or six seasoned minced pork filled wontons. Serve with a bowl of soy sauce and chopped fresh red chillies.
It won’t blow your tits off, it’s not a revolutionary dish, but it’s a very good, clean and simple soup. This is a good version of it. Costs 11,000VD or 1.52 North Korean Won (apparently). I’ll be back. More pics.