Hủ tiếu (Vietnamese) or KUY TEAV, (Khmer: គុយទាវ) is a noodle soup consisting of rice noodles with pork stock and toppings. HỦ TIẾU is generally assumed to be a dish of Chinese origin. A popular breakfast dish in Southern Vietnam and Cambodia, HỦ TIẾU can be found at marketplace stalls, roadside vendors, restaurants and in shophouses across the country, and is highly regarded for its clear and soothing broth and dazzling array of herbs, aromatics and other garnishes and condiments.
The word HỦ TIẾU is etymologically related to Chinese and refers to cut noodles made from a long grain rice flour (as opposed to glutinous rice flour). This term also refers to the dish: a rice noodle soup with minced meat and various other toppings and seasonings. The term has cognates in Southeast Asia with KUY TEAV (Khmer: គុយទាវ) and KUAI TIAO (ก๋วยเตี๋ยว) in Thai being analogues.
HỦ TIẾU is prepared with partially dry thin squarish rice noodles cooked by quickly immersing the noodles in boiling water. The noodles are then strained, placed into a bowl, and moistened with nutty, caramelised garlic oil. After dressing with a sticky brown liquid made of oyster sauce, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar, the bowl is then filled with a clear broth made from pork bones, dried squid, and sugar, and seasoned with a bit of fish sauce. Then the meat toppings are added, which may include an assembly of different types of meat, such as pork loaf, minced pork, pork belly, duck, seafood or offal. Availability is the main factor in what toppings are used in HỦ TIẾU; some versions can be quite humble and basic, using only some ground pork and perhaps some dried shrimp for protein, while others can be more time consuming and extravagant. Lastly, when the dish is presented at the table, the diner will then add a number of garnishes and aromatics to customise the dish in accordance with his or her preferences.
Some varieties can be found in Southern Vietnam: HỦ TIẾU NAM VANG, HỦ TIẾU MỸ THO, HỦ TIẾU SA ĐÉC, HỦ TIẾU GÕ, HỦ TIẾU BÒ KHO, HỦ TIẾU SA TẾ, HỦ TIẾU HỒ, HỦ TIẾU MỰC, HỦ TIẾU CÁ, HỦ TIẾU BÒ VIÊN, ….
- Hủ tiếu Nam vang (Pork and prawn noodle soup Phnom Penh style):
Nam Vang is the Vietnamese name of Phnom Penh – the capital of Cambodia. Nam Vang noodles when migrated into Saigon have been re-processed to suit the local tasting, but the way for cooking has not been changed. The noodle broth is cooked with pork bones and dried squid (toasted before cooking) to get the broth in the sweet taste, characteristic of noodles.
Minced meat, prawns and quail eggs are the three-main ingredients that must be added in this soup, and maybe some items such as boiled pig’s heart, sliced pork meat will be add in.
“GÕ” is a verb indicating an action of which a simple instrument (Bamboo or any wooden bar) is used to emit sound. That is not only the name of a noodle soup but also a very special way that people in Southern Vietnam have devised to sell this kind of noodle soup. They sell the noodle along the small streets, alleys, in the afternoon or early morning or midnight, the time when people are not working, or any time … The sellers will have a “staff” stroll around the roads with a wooden kit. It is a very distinctive sound that anyone would recognise. Customers who want to order dishes will only need to point out and patiently wait then a bowl of delicious, steaming noodles will be delivered door to door. This is a cultural feature that is only in the cities and provinces of Southern Vietnam. HỦ TIẾU GÕ is usually cheap, often sells some other Southern Vietnamese soups, like My Tho noodle soup or Sa Dec noodle soup and is sold on small carts.
See HỦ TIẾU GÕ RECIPE.
This noodle seems to be the hardest to find the “original version” in Saigon, because the characteristic toughness of the noodles can only be made from the famous Gò Cát rice in Tien Giang province. This is also a special point that not any noodle has this: the noodles has blanched through the boiling water is still tough and chewy. The identity of this type of noodles is not only toughness and crystal-clear of the noodles, but also in the characteristic spices added with caramelized garlic oil . My Tho noodle soup are usually served with the most popular ingredients such as lean pork meat, pig’s offals (heart, liver, ..), mung bean sprouts, garlic chives and pork broth.
With the way to cook broth and the same ingredients as lean pork meat, prawns, pig’s offals (Heart, Liver, …), Sa Dec noodle threads are the thing to distinguish with the other noodles. Sa Dec noodle is made from one of the famous rice-growing areas, the rice from the fields in Dong Thap Muoi (A Province of Southern Vietnam) is a main ingredient make the noodle threads are soft, tough and slightly crunchy. Sa Dec noodle threads are larger than other types and milky white color as BÚN. This dish is usually served with Vietnamese celery, garlic chives, mung bean sprouts and lettuce.
From far away, you can smell the scent of aromatic SATE NOODLE SOUP, It was originated from the Chinese community long time ago and has been famous in Saigon (Hồ Chí Minh City). With a orange-colored broth, this noodle soup does not need to be promoted but it is still listed in favorite spiced food. HỦ TIẾU SẢ TẾ is not only special in the pungent aromas of Sả Tế sauce and Vietnamese basil, but also because the elaborate broth with more than 20 spices and medicinal herbs such as star anis, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, shallot … HỦ TIẾU SẢ TẾ is served with beef, roasted peanuts and sometimes star fruit and vegetables (such as mung bean sprouts, …).
- Hủ tiếu Hồ
The most notable in the list of HỦ TIẾU, which is considered “hard to find”, even in Saigon. About the name, there are two different views: one thinks that the “HỒ” (literally glue in Vietnam) means thicker than normal soup by adding cornstarch during cooking, the other side think “Hồ” is a name’s word of Hunan (Vietnamese pronounce: HỒ NAM) Province in China. The special point of the HỦ TIẾU HỒ is not used by lean meat but only the pig’s tongue, offals and pig’s blood block. The broth is also made from many medicinal herbs. The noodle threads of this soup is not thin and long like normal noodle, but a wide flat rice noodle and soft. For me, I think that “HỒ” comes from the word “HO FAN” for wide flat rice noodle.
See HỦ TIẾU HỒ RECIPE.
- Hủ tiếu mực (quid and rice noodle soup)
The special point of this noodle soup is that it contains SQUID – a lot of SQUID. HỦ TIẾU MỰC usually have cooking methods and noodle thread similar to the popular types such as My Tho noodle soup, Nam Vang noodle soup. The main protein ingredient is SQUID instead of pork meat and pig’s offals. These noodles are like the younger sibling of others, but also carry a unique trait, the aroma of sweet-flavoring broth from squid and dried squid.
See HỦ TIẾU MỰC RECIPE.
- Hủ tiếu cá (Fish and rice noodle soup):
This is a rarely kind of noodle soup in Saigon, but one of the oldest. Although there is the same way cooking broth, but this fish noodle soup is special because of freshest fish fillets (usually snake-head fish) and crispy pork lard to make it is featured.
See HỦ TIẾU CÁ RECIPE.
- Hủ tiếu bò kho (Stewed beef and Rice noodle soup):
In HỦ TIẾU BÒ KHO, the noodle threads are not the main character, the decisive factor here is the beef and the way it is processed. The noodle threads are often used a kind of thin and chewy rice noodles. This dish is a unique initiative combining rice noodle and beef stew, which is popular with the Saigon people because of its unique and they want to change instead of having beef stew with bread.
See HỦ TIẾU BÒ KHO RECIPE.
- Hủ tiếu bò viên (Rice noodle soup with beef balls):
Beef ball noodle soup – a favourite of the students. This is a reason because it is a very familiar dish with three things: good taste – nutritious – cheap. With the price is always ranging from 15000đ – 25000đ (about 1 AUD or 0.8 USD/meal), this is the popular noodle soup that they often choice. Choose the best one to tackle the hungry stomach quickly before entering the classroom. Beef noodle soup is not well known for its flavor or features as other noodles, but it is closed bond with the young people.
See HỦ TIẾU BÒ VIÊN RECIPE