Thursday, March 22 2018


A bowl of rice noodles can go a long way

Update: June, 11/2012 - 19:13


No-fuss noodles: The interior of the Sen noodle cafe is simple and functiional, but the traditional dishes served would grace any high-end restaurant. — VNS Photos Do Truong
Stomach filling: A bowl of banh canh, which is made from stewed meat on the bone along with crab, snakehead fish and noodles made from wheat or rice flour.
Soup kitchen: Cafe staff wake up at 3am to go to Han or Dong Da market to buy the freshest ingredients. A bowl of banh canh costs VND25,000-30,000.

Banh Canh Nguyen Chi Thanh

Address: 143A Street Nguyen Chi Thanh, Hai Chau District, Da Nang City.

Tel: 05113 830 484

Prices: VND25.000- 30.000

Hours: 7.30am- 9pm

Comments: an opening and friendly space, affordable price and hygiene.

The popular Sen noodle cafe at 143A Nguyen Chi Thanh Street in Da Nang serves local delicacies such as banh canh (rice noodle) and bun cha ca (fish cake soup). Do Truong reports.Banh canh (rice noodle) is one of the typical traditional dishes of the central city of Da Nang along with bun cha ca (fish cake soup) and bun mam (vermicelli with fish sauce). The noodle cafe Sen at 143A Nguyen Chi Thanh Street, is familiar to locals and foreigners.

I discovered the cafe address by chance from a close and later decided to list it as one of my favourite cuisine addresses.

The cafe's setting impressed me at the outset because it is cool and open. Sitting down, you can enjoy the lazy street and feel the daily life of the locals.

Its owner, Tran Dung, says he opened the stall nearly 20 years ago. It happened by chance.

"When I was a soldier, I came to the neighbouring province of Thua Thien- Hue and once enjoyed rice noodles there. I asked how the dish was made and the kind stall owner gave me the recipe. I have been using it ever since," Dung says.

The 70-year-old owner says banh canh means "cake" plus with "soup" while cake is noodles made from wheat or rice flour. The soup is made from stewed meat on the bone along with flower crab and snakehead fish.

"Soup is the dish's most important element, like pho, which has a specific taste from stall to stall. The chefs often add a little fresh knotweed vegetable into soup bowls to bring out the flavour flavour," Dung says.

When I ordered a bowl, it was presented with a smile within two minutes. Dung says that before enjoying the dish, lemon juice should be squirted into the bowl, then a tablespoon of onion vinegar added - plus a few peppers. A few sticks of hot fried bread also go well.

Dung says, the stall's onion vinegar has an unique taste and a lot of foreign guests often buy it to take home. As for the fried bread, he buys it from a shop run by Chinese-born Vietnamese as, according to him, it is the best in the city.

The stall serves several varieties of noodles, including field crab, flower crab, meat on the bone, snakehead fish, shrimp and grilled-chopped meat.

Dung says that banh canh originated in the central province of Thua Thien- Hue where only meat on-the-bone and grilled-chopped meat were served.. When the dish was introduced into the seaside city, the dish acquired seafood ingredients,

To prepare for the day, cafe staff wake up at 3am to go to the Han or Dong Da market to buy materials. "We have to go early to choose the best fresh materials," Dung says. The dish only costs about VND25,000-30,000 a bowl.

The soup is ready about 7.30am and the stall is generally kept busy until about 9pm. "My main guests are office workers and students. Sometimes tourist groups drop in," Dung says.

"Currently, we have eight employees, but at Tet (Lunar New Year) or for other large festival, such as the International Fireworks Competition or the International Paramotor Race, we need another 12 workers." — VNS

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