No name for fame at this Chau Doc fish noodle stall
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With no shiny billboard, a bun ca (fish noodle soup) stall near Chau Doc Market in Mekong Delta province An Giang, has been going strong for over 20 years.
On a tour of Chau Doc, a Mekong Delta town bordering Cambodia and home to many spiritual sites in southern Vietnam, don't forget to visit Ms. Le's fish noodle soup stall near Chau Doc Market, well-known for its salted, dried seafood and fish sauce, all Mekong Delta specialties. The local favorite stands on a street corner and is largely unknown among tourists.
Le used to sell the dish from her shoulder pole. Later, she found a location near Chau Doc Market and has been operating for more than 20 years. Every day she opens her shop at 6 a.m. for a few hours only. With only a sketchy signboard hung in front of her shop and a few plastic tables and chairs, her shop is crowded with local customers each morning.
Bun ca Chau Doc, or Chau Doc fish noodle soup, originated in Cambodia before people in the Mekong Delta tweaked it to fit their taste. Now it can be found almost everywhere in Chau Doc Town, 250 kilometers west of Ho Chi Minh City. The main ingredients are snakehead fish, broth and noodles. After cleaning and boiling the fish, Le fillets it, marinates it with spices and fries it briefly on a pan with turmeric to give it a golden color and nice aroma.
The success of the dish lies in its sweet broth made from fermented carp, shrimp paste, livestock bones and other ingredients like auttum crosscus and crushed turmeric. Don't forget to enjoy the dish with vegetables like water spinach, banana flower, bean sprouts, dien dien or sesban flowers, accompanied with a bowl of tamarind sauce. A bowl of fish noodle soup at Ms. Le's costs only VND15,000 ($0.65).
In Chau Doc, the dish is served with a plate of roasted pork (heo quay).
Quang Thien, a customer, said though eating this dish in many different places, he still finds Chau Doc fish noodle soup at Le's stall the most special. Le's stall lies on Thu Khoa Nghia Street in Chau Doc Town, next to the Hung Cuong bus station.