Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang or Phnom Penh Noodle Soup is a southern Vietnamese noodle soup that is based on a Cambodian-Chinese dish and is a favorite for the locals in southern Vietnam. Go to any alleyway with food stalls and you will find one that serves Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang. Hủ Tiếu has a mild flavor compared to pho and bun bo hue and is much quicker to cook as well. The soup base is made of up pork bones and dried cuttlefish and shrimps. The noodles are also different as they are a clear chewy tapioca noodles versus the softer rice noodles found in other soups. The toppings vary by region and vendors and can be as simple as slices of pork, shrimp and a quail egg to dumplings, squid, and the list goes on. This is another dish that is good to make ahead as you can freeze the broth and toppings into portions and reheat it for a meal anytime.
For this recipe, we created a fully loaded surf and turf version of Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang. You can also make this simply with pork and shrimps as well. Top this bowl of noodle soup with fried pork rinds, chives and cilantro for a satisfying meal. This dish takes some work but the end result is worth the trouble.
Difficulty: Medium / Servings: 6-7 bowls / Time: 2 hours
Many of these ingredients can be found at your local Asian supermarket or amazon.
3 lb. of pork neck bone
5 dried cuttlefish
3 tablespoons of dried shrimp
3 yellow onions
3 lb. of pork loin
1/2 lb. lean ground pork (optional)
1 lb. of liver (optional)
3 fresh cuttlefish (squid)(optional)
1 can of quail eggs (you can use freshly boiled ones too)
a bunch of cilantro
a bunch of mint
1 bunch of celery
1 bunch of Chinese chives
1 lb. bean sprouts
3 spring onions
1 package of pork rind
Chicken bouillon powder
A. Prepare the bones (5-10 minutes)
Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the pork bones. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add the pork bones and cook for 5 minutes so that the impurities and blood can be drawn out of the bones.
Remove the bones and rinse clean. Discard the water.
B. Prepare the stock (1 hour)
Fill a large stock pot with 8 liters of water. Add the clean bones, 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of rock sugar to the water. Skim any impurities that float to the top. Boil the bones for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the bones and strain the broth.
*You can do this stock in large quantity and freeze. It is the basis of many Vietnamese soup and noodles dishes.
C. Prepare the other ingredients while the bones are cooking.
In a separate pot, boil the shrimps (with the shell) until the flesh turn pink and firm. This only takes a few minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside. Peel the shrimp, remove the vein and leave the tail on.
Strain the shrimp stock and reserve 2 cups of the stock.
Toast 5 dried cuttlefish in a toaster oven at 350F for 5 minutes, or until the squid curl up.(approximately 2-3 minutes per side)
Soak approximately 3 tablespoons of dried shrimp in 1 cup of cold water until they plump back to their normal size.
Peel and cut one Daikon radish into 3 segments. Cut 1 yellow onion into quarters and dice some of the quarters for 2 tablespoons of diced onions.
Broil 2 yellow onions in a toaster oven at 450F for 5 minutes to release the juices with the skin on. Remove the skin after and set aside.
[Optional topping: Squid] Boil another pot of water with 1 teaspoon of rock sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt to cook the squid. Clean the squid by peeling the squid skin off and remove the innards (plastic looking spine) and ink.
Boil the squid for 30 seconds until the squid flesh turn white and firm.
Slice the squid into half inch segments and set aside for toppings.
[Optional Topping: Liver] Boil another pot of water with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of rock sugar. Add the liver and cook for 15 minutes on rolling boil. Remove the liver and rinse with cold water.
Thinly slice the liver.
[Optional Topping: Ground Pork]
Marinate the ground pork with 2 tablespoons of diced onion, 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix well and allow the marinade to set in for 15 minutes.
Heat a large pan with 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté 2 tablespoons of diced onion. Once the onions turn translucent, add the ground pork. Break the pork apart so it will have a crumbly texture. The pork should be cooked in 15 minutes.
D. After cooking the bones for 1 hour (45 minutes)
Transfer 5 liters of the strained pork bone broth into a stock pot. Heat the stock on high to get a rolling boil. Add the radish and the “dried” shrimps to the pork broth.
After 15 minutes, add the dried cuttlefish and boil for another 15 minutes.
After another 15 minutes (30 minutes total at this point), season the broth with 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of rock sugar, 1 teaspoon of regular sugar, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of chicken bouillon powder.
Turn the heat to a low boil. Add the pork loin to the broth to cook. The loin will be cooked in approximately 15 minutes.
Add 2 cups of the reserved shrimp water and add 2 peeled yellow onions that we roasted earlier for additional flavor.
Turn the heat to a simmer after the pork loin finish cooking. (You can check this by poking a hole in the loin and it will be done when the chopstick goes through cleanly.) Remove the loin and set aside. Turn the heat to low to keep the stock warm.
Slice the pork loin into thin slices for toppings.
E. Prepare the topping and garnish: (Do this while the stock cooks)
Cut the chive into 4-5 segments.
Cut the celery (white and green portion) into long vertical strips. Keep the leafy portion for garnish and dice some of the leafy portion of the celery for topping.
Cut the scallions into 3 segments and dice some of the green portion to top the noodles.
Strain the quail eggs and rinse with cold water to get rid of any brine.
This is a sample of all the toppings that can go into one bowl of Hủ Tiếu.
Cook the noodles according to the instructions and rinse with cold water.
Add a handful of the noodles to a bowl. Add the 1-2 shrimps, squid, slices of pork and liver, a spoonful of ground pork and 1-2 quail eggs to the bowl.
Pour hot broth over the noodles and the meat to finish cooking it. Top with a handful of pork rinds, chives, celery and scallions.
Prepare a condiment plate with bean sprouts, more chives, mints, celery, peppers and lime.