My Quang Bep Tam, finding central region’s favourite food in the heart of Hanoi

Created 01 December 2018
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Hang Bai Street in Hanoi is like the city’s principal vein. It’s the thoroughfare from the south leading up north to Hoan Kiem Lake with heavy traffic day and night. It’s a downtown street for fancy clothes boutiques

Mỳ Quảng noodles, Bếp Tâm noodles, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

Mỳ Quảng noodles, Bếp Tâm noodles, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

Fresh: The veal and eggplant salad. — VNS Photos My Ha

 

The hefty rental prices discourage restaurateurs, so when we heard about a mỳ Quảng noodle shop that had just opened, we were surprised and wanted to give it a try.

Bếp Tâm, as it’s explained in the restaurant’s mantra, means cooking in a cosy home kitchen, just like your mother or grandmother used to make.

But in actual fact, Bếp Tâm is spacious with a modern, clean decor.

The menu features Da Nang’s most famous dishes, but restaurant quality rather than streetfood style.

We ordered a salad, gỏi bê bóp cà pháo, (veal and aubergine salad, VND120,000), which was fresh, well-marinated and chewy.

Then we had a bánh xèo, which was crispy, and the stuffing of pork and shrimp tasted really good. But my gourmet friend complained that the batter for the crepes had too much coconut milk or powder in it, making them too strong. To be honest, I loved the crispy crepes and the fresh mustard greens, so the batter didn’t bother me. I only realized the strong coconut flavour after my friend pointed it out.

Bếp Tâm offers favourite dishes from the central region and the south, like bánh xèo, nem lụi (roasted pork paste with assorted vegetables), and flower hotpot (VND350,000) and fish hotpot (VND399,000).

But the signature dishes are eight kinds of mỳ Quảng noodles. It’s really the highlight of the menu: chicken, beef, fish, eel, frog, crab, and shrimp. Prices range from VND55,000 to VND79,000, but if you want to splash out, for want of a better term, Bếp Tâm noodles (VND120,000) has a bit of everything.

 

Mỳ Quảng noodles, Bếp Tâm noodles, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

DIY: Diners can mix their own mỳ Quảng to their taste.


Mỳ Quảng noodles, Bếp Tâm noodles, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

Snack time: Noodles, fresh herbs and rice crackers.


Mỳ Quảng noodles, Bếp Tâm noodles, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

Shrimptastic: Crispy shrimp wraps, something like a roll, but with less meat. 

 

Chef Nga said originally the famous noodles only came with chicken or pork. Fish, eel or frog were added sporadically throughout the region depending on what was in season.

“My husband is from Tam Ky, (the provincial town of Quang Nam Province), the heart of the mỳ Quảng noodle region.”

Mỳ Quảng is popular there, they cook it for family gatherings, weddings and funerals.

Now in its third month, Nga said she has already had compliment from her customers. Some like the way she cooks here because it’s not as salty as the version you can find in Da Nang or Quang Nam.

“Hanoians are quite demanding, they like it less salty and more flavourful not only from the meat, but also the vegetables and fruit cooked in the broth,” she said.

I personally like the way they present the noodle at Bếp Tâm: noodles, vegetables and a hotpot brimming with broth.

“It tastes better when people decide to mix the noodle the way they want,” Nga said. “We can mix it well, but some like more noodles and some prefer more vegetables; they can mix their own dish."

There’s a difference between mỳ Quảng noodles and other noodle soups: it’s not burning hot like phở or other noodle soups and can still be enjoyed like a salad.

“In the cold winter in Hanoi, we like to have the soup really hot for the dish,” Nga said.

Another soup-based dishes from the central region are also available, such as bánh canh (manioc-based free range noodles) with different extras like fish (VND55,000), pork paste from Nam Phổ (in Hue) or pork from Trang Bang in Tay Ninh Province (both VND65,000) each.

For desert, you can choose from a few sweet drinks, or chè, on the menu. We ordered chè thốt nốt hạt é (Asian palmyra dessert, VND22,000) and two kinds of banana cakes (VND25,000), but only the first drink was available.

We returned to work after spending under VND200,000 each feeling content, but we still wondered how a brand new restaurant like this, no matter how well it is doing, can overcome the throat-cut rental costs in the area. 

 

Mỳ Quảng Bếp Tâm

Address: 53D Hàng Bài St.

Booking hotline: 1900 6044

Comment: Favourite food from the central region in modern décor 

 

 

By Nguyen My Ha  

Source: Source: VNS - Bridge

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