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Various soups with the Vietnamese udon

Various soups with the Vietnamese udon

Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 05:00 GMT+7

Banh canh is a kind of noodle made from tapioca flour or a mixture of rice and tapioca flour and looks similar to Japanese udon. Banh canh can be cooked with various ingredients in different ways to create peculiar tastes and flavors.

A classic dish is banh canh cua, which includes the noodle as well as crab meat, a piece of frozen blood, prawns and mushroom in a hot and spicy broth. Banh canh gio heo is another common find, with a broth made from pork bones cooked for hours, chopped slices of pork legs, onions, carrots, white radishes and, of course, the banh canh itself.

Besides these two main soups, there are some less common variations which are also worth trying:

With one-sun-dried squid

The highlight of this dish is the one-sun-dried squids (muc mot nang), which are cleaned and exposed to the sun for only one day, thus maintaining their freshness and sweetness. Slices of squid are cooked with banh canh in a yellow paste. The sauce served with the dish is made from salt, chili, lemon, and sugar in specific proportions so that it has sour, spicy, salty and sweet flavors at the same time.

With prawns and coconut milk

This is a specialty of the southwestern region of Vietnam. The prawns are peeled from their shells, then stir-fried with spices in a hot pan before simmering in a broth of coconut milk. The white of the tapioca noodle, the pink of prawns, and the green of sliced spring onion make an eye-pleasing bowl of banh canh noodle soup. Although cooked in coconut milk, the soup has a fatty flavor that is not cloyingly sweet. Banh canh tom nuoc cot dua can be found on Hai Ba Trung street in District 3 for VND40,000 (US$2).

With meatballs

Different from meatballs found in hu tiu (Phnom Penh noodle) or traditional pho, meatballs in banh canh noodle soup are usually big in size. Diners can feel fulfilled with a spoonful of hot and flavorful meatballs cooked in clear soup. This dish can be found at the end of Nguyen Van Nguyen Street in District 1, close to the Nhieu Loc Canal.

banh canh cua (

Banh canh cua, which includes the noodle as well as crab meat, a piece of frozen blood, prawns and mushroom (Photo:

With snakehead

There are two variations of banh canh ca loc originating from two regions. One from the southwestern area has a clean broth and a thin cut of fish and is served with mam nem, the Vietnamese fermented anchovy sauce. The other, from Hue, is a combination of flavors from the tapioca noodle, fresh fish and spicy cilantro. They are both tasty and can be found on Dang Van Bi Street or Bac Ai Street in Thu Duc District.

With fish patty

Banh canh cha ca is a specialty from coastal cities like Phan Thiet, Phan Rang and Nha Trang. Banh canh are cut into small pieces and cooked until they become transparent. Yellowish, soft slices of fried or steamed fish patty are carefully placed upon the noodle. Sometimes, you can even find pieces of tuna or mackerel added into the soup. This dish can be found in shops and stalls specializing in Phan Thiet or Nha Trang cuisine. The most popular one is at the corner of Nguyen Thong and Rach Bung Binh in District 3.

Dry banh canh

Interestingly, this dry dish was created by a descendant of the Bui family, which is known for bringing fame to banh canh Trang Bang, or Trang Bang-style noodle soup, served with fresh herbs brought directly from Tay Ninh Province. The tapioca flour noodles are dipped into hot broth until soft and then drained. Then minced meat, fried shallot, peanuts, pickle, cucumber and sprouts are added. This dry version is also accompanied with fresh herbs. This dish can be found at the well-known Banh canh Trang Bang restaurant in District 3’s Vo Van Tan Street.

banh canh gio heo (

Banh canh gio heo is prepared with broth made from pork bones, and chopped slices of pork legs (

 banh canh ca loc (

Banh canh ca loc (Photo:

phương thùy


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