Southern Vietnam: Hủ Tiếu Bà Năm Sa Đéc

Restaurant: Vung Tau III Restaurant
City: Newark, CA

My family’s been going to a Vung Tau restaurant since I was a kid… I even remember eating at the San Jose location (the first Vung Tau Restaurant) when I was 4 years old! Later, we’d go to the Milpitas location after it opened in 1996 (Vung Tau II), and then Newark after it opened in 2000 (Vung Tau III) since it’s closer to home. Two of the employees even recognize us…so I guess we’re loyal diners?! ;)

Vietnamese cuisine isn’t all about pho, spring rolls, and banh mi; there’s tons of other dishes. Here’s my favorite noodle dish at this restaurant, which I had for dinner tonight with my family and relatives. My sister had the same dish as well. You can order this noodle dish as a noodle soup, or dry with soup on the side. You can choose whether you want the rice noodle (pho-style noodle), egg noodle, or the glass noodle.

hu tieu ba nam sa dec - 1

Hủ Tiếu Bà Năm Sa Đéc – (Rice or egg) noodle soup with prawn, pork, crab claw, & a shrimp cracker. Dry or regular.

I always get it dry with the rice noodle, then dip the cracker in the soup to munch on, then pour the remaining soup into the bigger bowl and mix it all up!

hu tieu ba nam sa dec - 2 hu tieu ba nam sa dec - 3

Here’s an explaination of the dish, from Real Food, Real Pho:

This noodle dish is one of my favorite dishes which harkens from vùng đất chín rồng the land of the 9 dragons (aka Mekong Delta) of Hokkien-Khmer origin. It is a specialty attributed to Bà Năm Sa Đéc / Mrs. Five of Sa Dec. Who this mythical Bà Năm / Mrs. Five is, I don’t know; it’s very common in the South to call people by their birth order rather than their personal/intimate name and when they’re married by their spouse’s birth order depending on which one you are related to or know (Vietnam is a relational language so the pronouns are not fixed but based on one’s relationship).

The glass noodles are served with ground pork in a tomato paste base with shrimp and served with a side of pork broth, though chicken or beef broth could be substituted.

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  1. i love Vungtau restaurant. i had been going there when they first opened up, not at their present (San Jose) 13th St. location, but when they were a tiny hole in the wall place one block off of campus!!! i still think that their cha goi (fried spring rolls) are the best!!

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