Pork with thick rice noodle soup (bánh canh giò heo – Banh canh gio heo) is a speciality delicious food of the South Western Vietnam (miền Tây Nam Bộ)
Banh canh is a thick noodle soup with a more basic broth
with pork (some come with chicken, crab or shrimp), spring onions and
freshly sauteed onions sprinkled on top. Banh Canh noodles are round,
thick, pasty tapioca / rice flour noodles. They are similar in thickness
to the Japanese Udon noodle. In fact, some Vietnamese restaurants use the Udon noodle as a substitute for Banh Canh noodle soups.
The most representative dish of the Southern clear broth thick noodle soup is banh canh Trang Bang (from
Trang Bang district in Tay Ninh province). The flavor of this dish come
from only the pork. Its broth is made by simmering pork bones with some
kinds of bulbs, then soused on thick noodle and eat with the boiled
sliced pork feet or pork muscle… The thick noodles must be soft but
tough. The broth must be clear.
You also get a small plate of
freshly chopped red chilies, sliced lemon and a small bowl of original
fish sauce (nước mắm nguyên chất) for dipping the boiled pork into as
you eat. And the last is a tray of fresh and strange green raw
vegetables like perilla (tía tô), thai basil (húng quế), mango buds (đọt
xoài), jack buds (đọt mít), etc… A hot bowl of Banh Canh Gio Heo tastes
so delicious and unique with the cool of raw vegetables mixed with the
hot of chili peppers, the sour of lemon and the greasy sweet flavour of
pork feet, the charming of original fish sauce.
Compare with other noodle soups in Vietnam like Pho or Hu Tieu, Banh Canh Gio Heo seems
very simple. But in my opinion, I think the simplicity is the strength
of this dish. It’s like the soul of the south western people in general
as well as the Tay Ninh people in particular.