HỦ TIẾU or rice noodle soup is a familiar dish of people in Southern Vietnam. Depending on processing and cooking methods that each region has its own flavor. With its unique flavor, Sa Dec rice noodle soup is always kept as a favorite in each customer in or outside of province.
A bowl of this soup with clear broth, milky white thin noodle threads, some of sliced meat, sliced pork liver, sliced pork heart, sometime with prawn, minced pork (flavored with garlic), garnish with garlic chives, scallion, sliced chili, lime wedges, …. its smelling will make you are mouth-watering at the first sight.
In fact, Sa Dec noodle soup is not only its delicious appearance but unique taste is easy recognized. The taste is created by two main ingredients: rice noodle threads and delicious clear broth ( Of course, other ingredients such as meat, liver … make the taste of Sa Dec noodle soup more tasty and delicious).
With a good condition that local traditional rice flour production is located in Sa Đéc over 100 years, most focused in Tân Phú Đông-Sa Đéc, Đồng Tháp province. Sa Dec rice flour is well known local product, used as material to make many types of rice noodles for local consumers or has exported oversea (before 1975 until now). Noodle threads is made from Sa Dec rice flour that is smooth and white in color, chewy but not too soft, not sour taste. The special and important point is not easy to find in other places that rice noodle (for soup) is fresh (made in the same day) and the sellers have their own noodle supplier.
Before year 1975s, Mrs Nam Sa Dec (Vietnamese: Bà năm Sa Đéc)- a famous artist in Southern Vietnam- She opened a Sa Dec noodle soup shop in Sai Gon. Her shop was always busy, to keep the Sa Dec “SOUL”, everyday, fresh Sa dec rice noodle must be taken from Tân Phú Đông village by SaDec-SaiGon route bus.
Beside the normal Sa Dec noodle soup, another type of this noodle dish is served the same way, but without broth (Vietnamese: Hủ tiếu khô) – This dish is served in a plate (not in a bowl). The broth is served in separated bowl, with special dips. This dish (Dry sa Dec rice noodle dish) was created by chef VĂN Dĩ at the early time 1965s – 1966s. Ms Nguyen Thi Tuong Vi (Nguyễn Thị Tường Vi), A third generation “descendant” of Mr Văn Dĩ, opened a noodle shop at Cái Xếp bridge, highway 80, An Thạnh, An Nhơn ward, Châu Thành district, Đồng Tháp province. She told that when he (her grandfather – Ông ngoại cô ta) was still alive, at age 14, he worked for a Chinese noodle soup in Cambodia, learned how to cook dried noodles and then went back to Sa Dec to open the shop (No. 102, Tran Phu street, now no longer available here. With the unique sauce of “learning experience” when working, his dry noodles has been so impressive until now. Ms Tường Vi said, sometimes, foreigners (Vietnamese live in oversea countries) or customers (people live in another province) go back visit their homeland, enjoy the noodle and remember their childhood memories.
According to the older people, before 1975, in Sa Dec, There has many famous noodle shops, such as: Chú Cá, Chí Thành, Chí Ký, Lãnh Nam, Văn Dĩ, …. and popular as Bà Sẩm. Nowadays, most of these shop-owners were retired, but the taste of their nostalgic quintessence have passed to the later “descendants”.
In addition, in recent years, in Sa Dec, there has many new noodle shops grow up, the luxury noodle shops or popular noodle shops, … Dry Sa Dec noodle dish or Sa Dec noodle soup dish, The customers still enjoy the same taste of typical Sa Dec noodle soup.
- 1kg pork bones (marrow bones)
- 2 nos daikon (white radish)
- 1 onion, peeled, cut into wedges
- 1 no salted white radish (optional)
- Seasonings: Sugar, fish sauce, MSG, salt, pepper
- 1 kg fresh Sa Đéc rice noodle (or 1 pack 450gr dry Sa Dec noodle, cooked as package instruction)
- 300 gr minced pork (1 tablespoon cooking oil, 1 tbsp chopped shallots, 1 tsp chopped garlic, seasonings: oyster sauce, soy sauce)
- 300gr pork char siew (Vietnamese: xá xíu), thinly sliced
- 300 gr prawn, peeled, deveined
- 300 gr pork liver, boiled, thinly sliced
- 200 gr mung bean sprouts
- 1 dozen quail egg, boiled, shelled
- 100gr Asian celery, washed, cut 2 cm
- 100gr scallions, sliced
- 2 nos lime, cut into wedges
- 100gr garlic chives, cut 2 cm
- fried shallots
- Condiments: Soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, salt, pepper, sliced chili, lime wedges
- To cook broth: like standard processing method of cooking stock, washing bones by put them into pot with cold water, bring to boil then wash the bones carefully under running water. Throw the liquid. Put bones back to the pot, add 2 liters cold water along with white radish, salted radish (optional), onion halves then bring to boil then simmer about 3 to 4 hours, skimming occasionally. Seasoning to taste.
- For topping (pork char siew, minced pork, pork liver, prawns): Put pork livers into stock pot (as the same time at step 1), until just cooked, take out and soak in cold water to prevent discolored and dried then thinly slice, set aside. In small pot, with boiling water, blanch prawns set aside. In a small pan, saute minced pork with 1 tablespoon chopped shallots, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, seasoning with oyster sauce, sesame oil, salt, pepper, set aside.
- To serve: Blanch the noodle in boiling water, put into serving bowl with sprouts, arrange on top with sliced char siew, liver, prawns, minced pork, quail eggs (all of them cooked as step 2). Ladle very hot both (boiling broth) to cover, garnish with garlic chives, sliced scallions, fried shallots, sliced chili (or pickled chili), celery then serve with condiments (mung bean sprouts, celery, sliced chili, lime wedges, soy sauce, …). Or serve this dish as hot salad dish without broth. The broth will be served in a bowl separately.