More than a normal article for you to read and forget, this series is focusing on famous street foods in Vietnam, not only “Pho” and “Banh My” and you can taste the best and real local cuisine in Vietnam.
To start this series, I would like to introduce to you a really flavor and tasty food with SO many ingredients inside- Thang Noodle.
What is Thang noodle?
Speaking about Vietnam street foods, Pho and Banh My will be the first thing every foreigner think about. That makes sense because Vietnam has invested a lot to promote these street foods become more and more popular.
But they are not the best about Vietnamese cuisine. There are many other foods that can impress you more and you will find that Vietnam is not all about Pho and Banh Mi. Here in this article, I would like to invite you a local street food that also a signature of Hanoian – Thang noodle.
About street foods in Vietnam, you can find that noodle is Vietnamese favorite ingredient and it could be one of the main foods daily. You can have a noodle in Bun Cha (Grilled Pork Noodle), Bun Rieu (Smash Crab Noodle) and Bun Ca (Fish Noodle). Most of them are 2 and 3 ingredients to use with noodle. But in Thang noodle or we call Bun Thang in Vietnam, there are about 20 ingredients required to make a real Thang noodle.
Here is everything you will have in a bow of Thang noodle, from top to toe: sawleaf and laksa leaf on top, sliced fried eggs, torn chicken breast, sliced pork sausages, dried shrimps – each ingredient is presented tidy and separated. Under are small white noodles.
How to eat
When serving, the chef will pour hot stock water into the bow and you are ready to eat. The stock is very clear and it is a mixture of chicken and pig bones with a dried squid to be cooked for many hours. Thanks to the long cook, the stock is really sweet and tasty without any seasoning.
You can add chili, garlic, pepper or vinegar into the bow as your personal taste then mix everything in the bow. Actually, in the original taste, local people will add in a little bit of belostomatid oil. Belostomatid is an insect look like a cockroach but in Vietnam, it’s called as “Dragon Crumb”. This ingredient creates a strange but attractive smell for Bun Thang but nowadays, it is hard to catch those insects so people have changed it into another formula but the smell is not as good as the original.
You are also served with some pickled radish in soya sauce to eat with Thang Noodle. All of these ingredients make Thang noodle become complicated street food to prepare and cook. But, the good thing is the price is not as expensive as you can order a bow of Thang noodle at the same price of Pho or any other noodle-based street foods.
The best place to eat Thang noodle in Hanoi
Since Thang Noodle is a signature food of Hanoi, you can find this street food in almost everywhere in Hanoi. For the best bow of Bun Thang, I would like to suggest you the top 5 places to eat Thang noodle in Hanoi. I understand that most visitors come to Vietnam will stick to the Old Quarter so all of the places I recommend will be in this area. This will make your food tour become easier and better.
Thang noodle Mrs. Duc – 48 Cau Go Street
Located in a busy street right next to Hoan Kiem Lake, this vendor is easy to find and reach there on foot if you are staying in the Old Quarter. This vendor lies in a narrow alley but they have air condition and this is a strong point.
About Thang Noodle, the key of this vendor is their clear stock. As the owner sharing, they have cooked the stock from last night by the medium fire and let it cool down before putting in the fridge. In the next morning, they will take out all the fat that freeze above and what they get is a sweet and clear stock with minimum fat.
11 Hang Hom Street
This vendor is a bit small and the price is a bit lower but that doesn’t make the bow is less food and boring. The color is beautiful and everything is blended very well.
Ingredients for a bow of Thang Noodle (source: https://cachlam9.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Cach-Nau-bun-thang-2.jpg)
Quan Cũ – Old Restaurant 31 Phan Đình Phùng
This is a restaurant so everything is fancier than a street vendor but the Thang noodle is still well made at the rate of street food. This restaurant is at the border of the Old Quarter but still easy to get to. The best thing about Thang Noodle in here is the great presentation and has more foods.
Bun Thang 29 Hang Hanh – 29 Hang Hanh street
Hang Hanh Street is next to Hoan Kiem Lake but more calm and quiet than another street in the center of the Old Quarter. You can find a street vendor of Thang Noodle at 29 Hang Hanh Street inside a simple house design. Thang Noodle in here is easy to eat because they put more vegetables in the bow and use fresh shrimp instead of dried one.
Bun Thang Tu Lun – 22 Hang Trong Street
This vendor has no signed to realize so pretty hard to find it in Hang Trong Street. Regarding the owner, they have stayed and opened this vendor more than 10 years and since then, they are always busy with so many guests. You will see many people have to wait to get a bow of Thang Noodle in there and their seats are always full. They also sell out pretty fast and you will get nothing if it is 08:00 AM. So you have to get up pretty early if you want to try this one.
Who is suitable for
Thang Noodle is really easy to eat even it has a lot of ingredients. Most of the ingredients are familiar and have small chances of allergy, such as pork, egg, and chicken. Unless you are vegetarian or you are in a diet for bodybuilding, Thang noodle will be an excellent meal for you to start a new day or even for dinner.