Dec 2010

Family Obsession: Hủ Tiếu Mỹ Tho at Phở King

Hu Tieu My Tho at Pho King - San Diego

How silly of me to order a bowl of phở when I dined at Phở King about a year ago. In spite of the restaurant’s name, I’ve since learned that phở doesn’t actually reign supreme here. The specialty at this El Cajon Boulevard shop is hủ tiếu, a slightly sweet and thoroughly porky variety of noodle soups. I guess Hủ Tiếu King doesn’t have as nice (or racy) a ring to it as Phở King does.

My uncle Thanh and aunt Phuong were the first to venture to the hủ tiếu side of the menu. Once it received their seal of approval, word quickly spread to my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and mother. I love how news of good eats travels very quickly in my food-loving family.

Hu Tieu My Tho at Pho King - San Diego

The Astronomer and I sat down for a proper hủ tiếu introduction during our previous trip to San Diego. Even though my mother had already downed twelve or so bowls in the span of a few months, she was down for another go with us.

Taking my mother’s expert lead, The Astronomer and I both ordered the hủ tiếu Mỹ Tho with clear tapioca noodles (hủ tiếu dai) and with the broth served on the side. Originally from the Mekong Delta city of Mỹ Tho, the noodle soup contained everything under the sun. Atop the tangle of chewy noodles were bits of liver, chives, barbecued pork, ground pork, shrimp, fried shallots, Vietnamese celery leaves (rau cần), fried fish balls, meat balls, squid, pork stomach, scallions, and pork hearts. Whew!

Hu Tieu My Tho at Pho King - San Diego

As requested, the pork broth was served on the side, along with a red-tinged ground pork sauce that is unique to this restaurant’s interpretation of the dish.

Hu Tieu My Tho at Pho King - San Diego

Also on the side was a plate of garnishes containing lime wedges, fresh bean sprouts, and Vietnamese celery leaves.

Hu Tieu My Tho at Pho King - San Diego

My favorite condiment was the restaurant’s house-made chili sauce, which contained plenty of oil, garlic, and a certain je nais se quois that was most likely a heavy hit of Ajinomoto.

Hu Tieu My Tho at Pho King - San Diego

After pouring in the special ground pork sauce and adding some garnishes, I mixed up the bowl’s contents and went in for a taste. With so many different meaty nuggets competing for my chopsticks’ attention, every bite was delightful and different. I was particularly fond of the ones that contained a mix of offal, pork-soaked noodles, and chili oil. Mmm, boy! So, this is what the fam’s been raving about.

The hủ tiếu Mỹ Tho at Phở King is a solid effort. For those looking to sample a noodle soup that’s different from the usual phở and bún bò Huế, my family highly recommends hủ tiếu.

Phở King
4658 El Cajon Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92115
Phone: 619-285-1111

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13 thoughts on “Family Obsession: Hủ Tiếu Mỹ Tho at Phở King

  1. This dish awesome and is a less filling, less greasy and better tasting alternative to the Mi Sate dish at Minh Ky across the street.

    I highly recommend to all noodle and Vietnamese food lovers!

  2. This dish is Hu Tieu Nam Vang, right? I’ve been having this dish at least once a month in the excellent Kim Phat restaurant in the Bellair area of Houston, TX.

  3. Ci – It’s super similar to hu tieu Nam Vang. I think the difference is the orangey ground pork sauce. However, since I haven’t had the dish in My Tho, I am not positive 😉

  4. Funny thing is when my brother in law asked for this hu tieu with broth on the side in My Tho, they looked at him kind of funny but obliged – no orangey sauce on the side either. I don’t think they do it quite the same in VN, but I’ve seen plenty of the same interpretations in Little Saigon.

    Love this noodle soup – make it at home quite often, but without so much of the offal and the orange sauce since we eat it with the broth and noodles combined. Pretty easy to make too! Andrea Nguyen’s recipe works well. Definitely use the Viet celery and chives and fried garlic to give it additional kick.

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