More on the home delivery front. This time I got a location to follow up, rather than the usual vague street name or district. This is ‘Dac Biet’ Banh Canh Cua (Thick noodle crab soup). The ‘dac biet’ bit means special and is normally used by stall holders who have ideas above all the other stalls within eyeshot. However, this is slightly different from the last bowl of this we came across at Ben Thanh market. This noodles are still thick, but they’re translucent (that could be the bite in the dac biet bit???). They have a melt in the gob quality to them. They also kinda look like miniature see-thru eels. Like something David Attenborough unearthed way down deep for the ‘Blue Planet’ TV series. You’ll also find your flaky crabmeat, couple of sticks of Vina-spam, mushies, spring onion and all the usual herbal suspects. No chilli in this venture though. Although you will get a side of minced red chilli, sliced yellow chilli and an 8th of a lemon. 10,000VD from 59 Bis Nguyen Thong Street. Worth further inspection I’d say. This was excellent.
Stall No. 1156 on Ben Thanh market serves up three lunchtime dishes, Banh canh cua (Thick noodle crab soup), Hu tieu (Pork noodle soup) and Mien cua (Translucent noodle crab soup) and is located on the periphery of this 48 stall food market in District 1. I plumped for a blazin’ chili fuelled Banh canh cua. The slog for the chef with this dish is in the making of the thick rice noodles. These are individually hand rolled, lightly covered in flour and thrown into the pot for a couple of minutes before serving. The flour helps thicken the soup giving it an almost gelatinous quality.
As Banh canh cua goes this offering is pretty bland. A broth-boost from the side dish chockfull with sliced lemons, a pot of freshly ground chilies and soy sauce is needed to give it any kind of oomph. The crabmeat is pre-cooked and thrown in at the last minute, as is a paltry prawn together with a handful of finely chopped spring onions. I like my Banh canh cua with a healthy show of straw mushrooms and this soup stall came up mushroom-less. As for their single prawn policy, why bother? If you’re gonna make this a prawn party, loosen up and get liberal with the crustaceans, babe. Tightarsed servings and pathetic solo prawn efforts just look lazy, but for 8,000VD a pop I’m not complaining too much.
It’s worth persevering on this food market. Don’t let the aggressive arm grabbing and shouting from the stall touts put you off. Shut out the background noise, focus on the food and get stuck in.