There’s one easy way to hunt down a bowl of Mi Quang on Ben Thanh market in District 1 – look out for the thick yellow noodle-stacks. There are five stalls on Ben Thanh selling this oddity of the soup world. I hesitate to call it a soup as it is more like a classy kitchen leftovers salad with a splash of soup chucked on as an afterthought. So, what does that make it exactly? A stew – no. A soup – well, not really. A watery kind of cross-dressing salad/soup thing – that’s closer, but the truth is this fella has me category-confused.
Like Bun Rieu, there’s a lot to this native Danang dish. If you’re trying to impress a hot date with your exotic cookin’ skills, I wouldn’t bother trying to conjure this number up at home. You’ve got no chance. Best bet, rent a Vietnamese grandmother-come-kitchen-dynamo for the afternoon or do as pieman does and buy it on the market and sling it in a bowl back home.
In among that lot I found the following:
Rice crackers, pork slivers, spring onion, peanuts, beansprouts, chinese mushrooms, shrimp. mortadella, stripped morning glory, saw-tooth herb, minced pork balls, yellow noodles, chicken stock.
It is a bit of a jungle in there and I could have missed the odd ingredient. Admittedly I did scoff this one down fairly rapidly. When I asked Phuong Van, the owner of stall no. 1092 about the quality of her four mi quang selling competitors on Ben Thanh, she sniffed disdainfully assuring me that her mi quang was sweeter, more nutritious and tastier than ‘those idiots’. Well, we’ll see about that. I’ll make sure I test them all over the coming weeks and blog up. Come to think of it, I wonder if Phuong Van has ever eaten at her competitors…???
The mystery of mi quang is in that pot above. This is ‘nuoc sot mi quang’ or mi quang sauce (I think…). This makes the stock slightly sweet and a smidgen spicy. I didn’t add anything else – didn’t feel it needed anything, tasted great to me – although there is chili sauce, fresh chili and lemon halves on tap if you’re feeling adventurous. A big bowl will set you back 15,000VD, lightweights can try a smaller bowl for 10,000VD. Optional face wipe for 1,000VD. Phuong Van also serves up Bun bo hue , Bun moc and Banh uot thit nuong.