I love Pho Bo. Take for instance its taste; a deep rich beef flavour that arouses my senses every time. Its accessibility; I can walk 5 minutes in any direction and there will be a pho stall on some corner to satisfy my pho needs. Its affordability; at 25,000 dong it’s about 80p. Nevertheless, there’s only so much pho a woman can have. And pho has definitely been around the block a few times, if you know what I mean. I’m looking for something, I don’t know what… purer, yeah, purer. A soup that hasn’t been slurped at by ‘In The Tubing’ vest top wearing hipsters with half a shaved head who blog about every bloody hot dinner. I want a soup that is even harder to pronounce than ‘Pho’ and contains a different animal other than cow. I want Hu Tieu!!! Wow, that felt good.
A southern-Chinese inspired soup, Hu Tieu has a clear broth and contains pork and shrimp. Whenever I’ve eaten Hu Tieu it has been made with thin egg noodles as opposed to the clear white vermicelli noodles you find in pho but you can sometimes find a mix of these two noodles in one bowl. It’s not as strong flavour-wise as pho but it packs a punch when I add the heaps of chili I drop in. Still as accessible as pho and, ahem, CHEAPER than pho at only 18,000 dong.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. Even the writer of the blog Vietnamese Pho Noodles – Pho Noodle for the Pho Lovers confesses that Hu Tieu is the ultimate challenger of their beloved pho. Need I say more?
I’d never have thought that I would have two soups battling it out for the honour of My Favourite but there we have it. Will it be the always reliable and a little bit frisky Pho, or the new kid on the block, the hunky humble Hu Tieu, that wins out in the end. Only time will tell, but for now, feast your eyes on this….