January 13, 2008
140 Vo Thi Sau Street
District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Mi Xao Don (15,000 VND)
Mi Xao Mem (15,000 VND)
Hu Tieu Xao (15,000 VND)
Located in the same alley as the pho cuon and bun cha joint I visited a month ago, this stall specializes in mi (noodles) and com (rice) dishes prepared in a wok.
Zach, The Astronomer and I ordered every mi dish off the menu with the exception of mi goi xao bo, which is packaged Ramen noodles stir-fried with beef. I don’t doubt that the dish is a fine creation, but it’s a little too “semi-homemade” for me.
The mi xao don was comprised of thin egg noodles dunked in hot oil and fried to a crisp. The nest of crunchy noodles was topped with a saucy mix of liver, beef, squid, bok choy-like greens and garnished with cilantro. The Astronomer thought there was too much liver and not enough of anything else. This preparation was probably my least favorite of the three because I like my noodles soft, but The Astronomer embraced the different textures.
The mi xao mem was your average plate pan fried noodles and dressed with the same saucy mix as the mi xao dong. The noodles were too soft and as a result, lacked the bite-factor that I want in my pan fried noodles. See: Ting Wong in Philadelphia.
My favorite of the three was the hu tieu xao. Wide rice noodles seared in garlic and topped with the ubiquitous saucy mix. Whereas the mi xao don was too crunchy and the mi xao mem was too soft, the hu tieu xao was baby bear.
These alleyway noodles were good, but not great. In a city full of greatness, I most likely won’t be back for more.