When the weather starts to turn chill, nothing can be as satisfying as slurping on a steaming bowl of delicious sour and spicy noodles soup. Besides bun rieu (salty tomato broth, served with crab or fish) and bun oc (snail noodles soup), another popular choice among Hanoians is bun ca (fried fish cake noodles soup).
When it opened a decade ago the fried fish cake noodles soup restaurant on Le Van Huu Street was just a small eatery, but it now has branches in several other places. But the original one still attracts the most customers.
A full bowl of noodle soup, fish cakes and fresh boiled carp.
For just VND35,000 ($1.5), each bowl is served with a plate of vegetables, including giant elephant ear plant, water dropwort and mustard leaf. Customers can ask for just one kind of vegetable if they want.
Like most fish cake noodles soup restaurants in Hanoi, this one serves crunchy fried fish cakes to eat with a variety of noodles like rice vermicelli, flat rice noodles and cassava vermicelli.
At the restaurant, the cake is made with climbing perch fish. The pieces of cake are about match-box size, the outside is fried to a crunchy golden color while the inside remains soft and flavorful.
On order, the soup also comes with pieces of freshly boiled carp. They are firm and don’t taste fishy. This is what makes the restaurant stand out for its regulars.
Another signature dish of the restaurant is the fried fish cakes dipped in sweet and sour fish sauce. Since the fish is fried on order, the pieces remain thick and tasty
The fried fish cakes are made on customers’ orders. Photo by VnExpress/Tuan Dao
With a little bit of kumquat, chili sauce and pickled garlic, there is a delicious bowl of noodles soup that customers usually polish off to the last drop. The restaurant owner said since the broth is made from fish bones and marrow bones, the broth is clear and naturally sweet without needing any added artificial flavoring.
Duc, a first time customer, said: “I think the broth here is really nice. The fish cakes are thick and warm, and not shriveled like at other places.”
The restaurant also does takeout of fish cakes, fried eel cakes, crunchy fried fish, boneless fish and more.
This small restaurant has been attracting a large number of customers for a decade. Photo by VnExpress/Tuan Dao