The Holy Grail of Asian Noodle Dishes
There is a special providence in the stock of a soup; it’s derived from the way its ingredients are combined, how long it’s left to simmer, and what garnishes are added at the glorious end of the process. For a chef, it can be a barometer for the amount of love and effort put into a dish.
Just south of Danang, if you follow the famed China Beach to the small waterway town of Hoi An, you’ll find no shortage of love or effort in the holy grail of Asian noodle dishes, Mi Quang (mì Quảng).
The base of mì Quảng comes from a stock called Nuoc Leo, a pork reduction that competes with a well-made ramen broth in Japan, mixed with spices like ginger, fish sauce, and shallots, to create a richly flavoured broth. The broth is then poured over yellow tinted rice noodles (tinted by turmeric, chosen for both its flavour and its homeopathic qualities).
From here, the recipe can vary. Toppings can vary depending on the chef and range from boiled egg, crushed peanut and chili peppers to shrimp, water mint—a favourite of B&R guides—and any number of proteins, including pork and beef.
Our dear friend and Hoi An local culinary star Duc Tran (of restaurants Mango Mango and Mango Room) makes one of the best variations I’ve ever come across in his newest restaurant, Mai Fish. While Pho is known around the world as the soup from Vietnam, mì Quảng is the dish I consider the highlight of the country.
The fact that mì Quảng happens to make its home in Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, provides further incentive for culinary pilgrims, who should add this to the likes of Kyoto, Paris, New York and Copenhagen as must-visit culinary hubs!