A street treat

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Mì cật (homemade noodle with pig kidney) at Hu Tieu, Mi Thap Cam Restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City

I was traveling by a different route while returning from the office one day last week when on Truong Dinh Street in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1, the delicious odors coming from a small restaurant grabbed my attention.

"It must be from some unusual dishes," I said to myself as I checked it out. In the open kitchen facing the street, some hot pots were on the boil and giving out delicious smells.

Surprisingly, it turned out that the restaurant was serving and hủ tiếu (homemade noodles), common dishes at many restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City.

The next day I could not help returning for a light late afternoon meal. At this time of the day, if you are in the mood for something light, a bowl of hủ tiếu or is just perfect.

The restaurant was small it had around 10 tables but clean. From inside, you can see the Indian temple with its colorful statutes across the street.

I ordered a bow of mì cật (homemade noodles with pig kidney) which cost a mere VND38,000 (nearly US$2).

From my table I could watch the cook put the noodles in a hot water pan for a minute, take it out, and put it in a bowl. Another heaped ingredients like herbs and kidney was placed on top.

In a few minutes the waiter arrived with a bowl of noodles with spring onions and shallots on top, plus minced pork and crunchy, yellow-brown fried pork skin. Some large slices of pig kidney were mixed with herbs.

The noodle was served with another bowl of hot soup so that customers could mix it with the noodles or eat it separately.

HU TIEU MI THAP CAM

62 Truong Dinh Street,
Ben Nghe Ward, Dist. 1, HCMC

It was for the first time I tried a bowl of noodles with kidney in Saigon and it was delicious. It had the fragrance of the herbs, the noodles were soft and not too fatty, and the kidney was very tender.

Many people are wary of the strong smell of kidney, but this one was distinctly less odoriferous than usual: it must have been washed well before cooking.

However, if kidney noodles are still too much for you, you could try the and hủ tiếu with slices of pork which cost the same (around VND40,000).

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