Update: 16:32 | 08/06/2022
The central coastal province of Phu Yen is not only famous for its beautiful beaches that lure travellers from far and wide but also for its banh canh he, a chive noodle soup.
The popular dish is not only a simple breakfast but also awakens diners' taste with its pure and sweet stewed broth made from fish, according to Nguyen Thi Lien, a Phu Yen resident.
Almost travellers and visitors to Phu Yen are interested in trying Banh canh he.
"Many chefs along the coast from Da Nang City to Ninh Thuan Province make the dish, but the banh canh he made by Phu Yen locals has its own characteristics of fish broth and green chives," said Lien. "I like a bowl full of chives added with minced chilli, satay and a piece of lemon."
Unlike in other locations, Phu Yen noodles have a milky colour, are soft and fragrant from the rice, and are cut into 8-10cm long pieces so you can use a spoon to eat them, Lien added.
The dish's toppings include grilled chopped seafood from Phu Yen beaches such as barracuda, snails, and mackerel.
Apart from chives and fish, other ingredients of Banh canh he include quail eggs and straw mushrooms.
The seafood is peeled to get the meat, then ground and added with spice, chilli and pepper before grilling.
"Thanks to the fresh fish, the grilled chopped dish is sweet and rich with aroma from the fish itself and also from the sea smell," Lien said. "Most eaters enjoy this topping because of its crispy cover, while the inside is soft but tough and sweet.
Apart from grilled chopped fish and noodles, the broth plays an essential role in the dish.
A gourmand named Dang Ngoc Dung said she enjoyed the dish as breakfast daily, and the restaurants that use pork meat or bone to make broth were less tasty compared with their counterparts who stew fish to make it.
Adding a piece of lemon, green chilli and pepper makes Banh canh he more delicious.
"I like the fish broth because it is light and sweet, and there is less fatty scum, which helps me not feel too full," she said.
However, she noted that the broth has a slight fishy smell, a special aroma that some dislike.
Although many restaurants sell the dish in Phu Yen, Dung said there are four she prefers.
One is Quan Thanh Tam at 53 Dien Bien Phu Road, Ward 7, with prices ranging from VND20,000-30,000. It is famous far and wide for its traditional unique broth with a pleasant spicy aroma and taste combined with grilled chopped fish and the attractive flavour of chives, said Dung. She said the restaurant was often full, so booking early was best.
Banh canh he (chive noodle soup) is a speciality of Phu Yen Province.
She also recommends Banh canh he at Nguyen Hue Road of Ward 2, with prices ranging from VND15,000 to 35,000. The shop opens until midnight for those that like to eat late.
Quan Xu Nau at 222 Truong Chinh Street of Ward 7 is another famed spot to try the dish, attracting both tourists and locals.
Quan banh canh Buu Dien near Tuy Hoa Market is another great restaurant. The dish here is so tasty and affordable that many diners like to eat two or more bowls at the same time.
"Banh canh he ranks first among the tastiest dishes in the region, so you should try it when visiting Phu Yen," Dung said.