I don’t actually go out to eat Hu Tieu Nam Vang very often, so I am not really in the know of which places serve the best. It might be because my family tends to favor Pho, both the beef and chicken variety, so when given the choice, we fall back on what we like. That being said, I did eat it a lot at home while growing up, at least my family’s version of it. I didn’t realize this, but nam vang is the Vietnamese word for Phnom Penh, so supposedly the Vietnamese in the southern part of Vietnam, where the Khmer roots are a little more prevalent, borrowed this from the Cambodians and mixed in a little Chinese influences to make what is sometimes referred to as Southern Vietnamese version of noodle soup.
Pdho’s cousin owns Phuong’s which seems to be pretty well-known for their Hu Tieu. It also seems to be the only place I’ve gone in recent memory. Hu Tieu comes with a myriad of toppings including pork, fish cake, shrimps, fried shallots and scallions. It can be served wet or dry which really just determines if the soup is served with the noodles or on the side. I decided to get it dry, but you’re supposed to add a orange sauce (kind of like what comes with the Nem Nuong Cuon/Grilled Pork Patty Roll) but less pungent and flavorful. I actually never ate it this way until I came to Phuong’s, but I kind of like it. It gives the noodles an interesting kick which I can then wash down with spoonfuls of the broth every so often. The broth tends to be a little bit sweeter and lighter in flavor than the traditional Pho broth, but I think the stronger taste of the onions and shallots is oddly complimentary. My favorite part of the soup is the clear tapioca-like noodles. It has a chewier consistency compared to the rice noodles in Pho which make it more interesting to eat.
All in all, the Hu Tieu Nam Vang here is pretty solid. I haven’t been to many places to get a good sampling, but as far as this version of a Vietnamese noodle soup goes, it tastes pretty good here and is worth trying if you’ve never had Hu Tieu before.
10722 Westminster Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92843
PAFO Ratings for Phuong’s:
Ambiance 2½ stars
Food 3 stars
Overall rating 3 stars