Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / noodle-soup

Over the last year end holiday season, we spent quite a few days in Ho Chi Minh City, and I thought it’d be a good opportunity to sample the various street foods this biggest city in Vietnam has to offer and do a bit of introduction to you, so here goes.

Bun Bo Hue 31, at District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Bun Bo Hue 31, at District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

This was my 10th time to Ho Chi Minh City, but previous 9 were all due to work and happened more than 9 years ago, I was greeted with a rush of nostalgia, so much of the city has changed, yet so much stayed exactly the same as when I first stepped foot here more than a decade ago.

Thankfully, part of the latter includes what Saigon has to offer when it comes to the rich variety of local cuisine.

Bún bò Huế
Bún bò Huế- spicy beef and vermicelli soup

We start off the introduction with Bún bò Huế. 

While Vietnamese pho gets all the attention, bun bo, in a way, is one that I find more interesting. Originated from Hue, a former capital city of Vietnam situated somewhere in the middle geographically, bun bo has a spicy soup base made from boiled beef shank, chunks of oxtail, and even pig’s knuckles, which gives it a sweeter flavor and a bit more kick.

Like most Vietnamese noodle soup, it also comes with a generous portion of vegetable on the side, including sliced banana blossom, green onion, bean sprout, cilantro, and more. Squeeze a slice of lime, and add some fresh green chili in the soup and you’re good to go. The vermicelli used is also usually the round & thick type, which I think is perfect for this application, simply beautiful and absolutely delicious.

spicy beef and vermicelli soup
spicy beef and vermicelli soup

I had my bowl at Bun Bo Hue 31 near the middle of the city, a shop frequent mostly by the locals with staffs who spoke almost no English. To order, you can simply point to the menu, or use the phone as a translator. Give it a try when you’re in Vietnam.

Bun Bo Hue 31 map

Bun Bo Hue 31
P. Q.1, 31 Mạc Đĩnh Chi, Đa Kao,
District 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
GPS10.784853, 106.699163
Tel: +84 8 3827 7257
Hours: 6 am to 9 pm

It is always a mystery to me as to why there are so many people who insists on eating the things they are used to eating at home while traveling to another country. The phenomenon must be very prevalent, so much so that at most touristy places, there are more Western restaurants than there are local Thai places.

Khao Lak is more of the same, the small resort town (approximately 100 km north of Phuket) where we spent the day after liveaboard to Similan islands for degassing purposes. For us, that was of course a perfect opportunity to eat everything Thai.

Fire in the hole!

motorbike is the best way to get around
motorbike is the best way to get around

While Khao Lak is relatively small and there are cabs available pretty much everywhere, the best mode of transportation is a scooter. You probably don’t even need a license to rent one, but do make sure you know what you’re doing.

Our scooter cost 200 baht per day, and you can refuel from plenty of places by buying bottled gasoline for 40 baht per liter. If you value your life, ask for helmets, they provide them without extra charge.

som tam by the roadside, I had it last year too
som tam by the roadside, I had it last year too

If you love sour & spicy stuff, som tam is a must try. Made of unripe papaya or green mango, bean sprout, peanut, chili, dried shrimps and more. Comes with a kick, we paid 40 bath, would be cheaper if this stall wasn’t parked right outside hot tourist spots.

breakfast was this rice/noodle with extremely spicy broths
breakfast was this rice/noodle with extremely spicy broths

On the day of departure, we decided to forgo hotel breakfast and try something a Thai would have. After riding around a bit we arrived at this kopitiam with a couple Thai ladies operating a stall that offers rice or noodle with a selection of dishes with broth.

Thai: spicy haa!
Me: we kon Malay, spicy no problem!

I was mistaken. These shit was tasty, and really, really hot. Lucky for us there were fresh cucumbers & a variety of vegetables on the table to cool things down. It was a good meal, what do you call them anyway?

noodle soup is the yums, choices of beef, chicken, or pork
noodle soup is the yums, choices of beef, chicken, or pork

A day prior to departure, just before dinner, we stopped by one of the road side stalls right on the main street at Khao Lak for some “snacks” that turned out to be really delicious noodle soup.

Here you get to choose any combination of 3 ingredients: pork, chicken, and beef. I had mine with chicken & beef while Haze opted for pork and beef. This reminded me of Vietnamese pho, and had the same basil/bean sprout on the side too, but as with anything Thai, the flavors were stronger. Yums.

50 baht for each, water was free. 100 baht well spent.

pad thai was not bad, but the fried oyster was a disappointment
pad thai wasn’t bad, the fried oyster tho, disappointing

Our last meal there was at this little restaurant a couple kilometers away from Khao Lak (scooter brings you places!). We had pad thai with prawns & squid, and another plate of fried oyster to share.

The pad thai was rather average, and the fried oyster.. well, after the experience at Penang’s version, this was a complete disappointment. Each plate was 50 baht, with 15 baht each for coca-cola t hat comes in those classic glass bottle.

Yes, my stomach is still recovering from all those chili overload, but of course it was worth it. 😀

One of the things I love most about Thailand is their hawker foods. It is true that they serve excellent tomyam, pad thai, and ladna at just about any corner, but one of my favorite breakfast dishes in the land of smile has gotta be the noodle soup.

stalls by the street corner
noodle soup stall by the road side

On the last day of the trip while off-gassing from diving at Phuket, we went over to a pretty inconspicuous stall right across the street of the budget hotel we’ve been staying at (Baan Suan Place, cheapest room rate at 700 baht/night, next to Phuket International Hospital).

Though there were quite a few eateries of similar set up at the area, but I knew we got the right place soon as I saw those coagulated blood in the jar displayed at the front of the stall. *slurps*

noodle soup with all sorts of ingredients, take your pick!

noodle soup with all sorts of ingredients, take your pick!

A few finger pointing gestures and some 10 minutes later, here’s the bowl of goodness that arrived on my table. Big flat rice noodle in subtle yet flavorful clear broth topped with cuttle fish, coagulated blood, liver, pork, a bit of mushroom, vegetable, and even a bit of white fungus.

There’s also a plate of bean sprouts and some basil ala Vietnamese noodle style on the side, and of course plenty of potent chili powder as condiment for those who love it spicy.

when in Thailand, eat like a Thai
when in Thailand, eat like a Thai

The noodle soup costs around 30-40 baht and this place also serves coffee and other drinks at around 10 baht. While this stall is situated at Thanon Bangyai road behind Phuket International Hospital, you can basically find similar stalls at just about anywhere in Southern Thailand (perhaps Central/Northern part too).

Now I wish someone would bring this to our local hawker stalls, Thai food here in Malaysia seems to be limited to tomyam, pineapple fried rice, and the occasional pad Thai only… pity.

map to Phuket International Hospital

Thanon Bangyai
Wichit, Mueang Phuket,
Phuket 83000, Thailand

GPS: 7.895477,98.365939

Sotong suggested that we go to this fishball place at Seapark that she found out from her colleague. Since I am always in an adventure mode when it comes to food, and this place is rather close to where I stay, we gave The 60s Teow Chew Fishball a try last weekend.

The 60s Teow Chew Fishball at Seapark
pretty cozy atmosphere, clean and air-conditioned (somewhat)

This restaurant is not very different from the Fishball Noodle soup place in Damansara Jaya (next to Atria). Both serves fishball noodle soup, fish cake, a few different yong tau foo, and so on. However, one noted difference is that they also offer curry soup instead of just plain soup and dried version for the noodle (see picture below.)

The 60s Teow Chew Fishball at Seapark
pretty healthy food, tastes good too

We ordered the fishball noodle soup with curry and clear soup, some fish dumplings, and yong tau foo. We had wanted to order the deep fried fish paste in order to compare with the other shop, but unfortunately they ran out of stock. Another item that is worth mentioning is the fish skin wanton, gotta try that next time.

The 60s Teow Chew Fishball at Seapark
nice on-the-wall menu

The homemade fishball tastes pretty good, has a firm and springy texture that chews pretty well. The clear soup is nothing to shout about but pretty much what you’ll expect. As far as the yong tau foo goes, I’ll still stick with the Ampang store. However, the deep fried fish dumpling was very good, I recommend it.

The entire menu is mounted on the wall, with Chinese and English language, together with the price. A pretty nice touch.

The 60s Teow Chew Fishball at Seapark
best seapark map you’ve seen, i bet.

GPS: 3.109074, 101.622344