Advanced noodles, chapter #41: Bún thang
TLDR; Complex noodle soup loaded with toppings.
The name is a mystery to me, as it literally means “ladder noodles”. I assume it comes from Chinese, but I’m not sure. Its origin is somewhat shrouded in time but one version I’ve heard is that it has evolved from post-Tet meals, as it uses the kind of items that would be leftover from the main meal. Sort of like post-Thanksgiving leftover meals we have for a week after in the States (there’s ALWAYS that point in time, ten days later or so, where mysterious white cubes pop up in your morning cereal, and your trust in your mom is irrevocably fractured. Maybe that’s just me). The broth is specific and is made by boiling chicken with dried shrimp, and sometimes other “medicinal herbs”. Finally, in some cases beetle-juice might be added (the extracted pheromone of a kind of stink beetle, “cà cuống”. Also added to the sauce at some bánh cuốn places. Sort of floral aroma). Purists insist on chicken of a specific age, “that laid eggs only once”. To that broth vermicelli rice noodles are added, the cooked chicken meat, shredded, thinly sliced egg omelette, ham, and a bunch of herbs. And sometimes shiitakes, pickled radish, fresh shrimps, shrimp sauce (mắm tôm) ,and/or salted duck egg, and more.
This bowl pictured here was at eaten for breakfast the other day 31A Phan Đình Phùng. A nice, friendly, and clean place, with an actual climate control room for days when you don't want to smoke a motorbike with you meal.