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Thuc Restaurant certainly lives up to its name

Update: August, 07/2012 - 18:58

 

Clean and simple: Thuc Restaurant is a cheap place to eat but the food is as good as it gets. — VNA Photos Truong Vi

Thuc Restaurant

Address: 17 Hoa Ma St, Hoan Kiem Dist, Ha Noi

Telephone: 04 397 667 54

Opening hours: 6.30am - 10pm

Price: VND30,000-100,000

Comments: Cosy space with traditional street food.

There are several upmarket eating houses that present the best of street food - for a price. However, the recently opened Thuc Restaurant in Ha Noi is pulling in the crowds because of the quality of its food (Thuc) and its cheap prices. An Vu reports.

Looking for a cheap place that reminds you of the old Ha Noi? Visit Thuc Restaurant (17 Hoa Ma Street). Although Thuc just opened on June 22, those in the know are already flocking there for the hearty cuisine inspired by traditional street food.

Thuc means "food" in Vietnamese, and the cuisine here is as simple as the name. But the quality is just as good as any of the glossy new restaurants in the area.

The restaurant has two floors: downstairs offers modern wooden seats, while upstairs provides a mat for those who prefer a more traditional seating style.

Stepping into Thuc, you'll be greeted by a series of black and white photographs of old Ha Noi. The room is not too large - a cosy space for families and friends to get together.

All the porcelain bowls are made locally, reinforcing the homey atmosphere. Using an old-fashioned slender bowl, I felt nostalgic for olden times.

Since I love anything with a chicken broth base, I ordered a bowl of vermicelli and chicken soup (VND30,000-40,000) while my co-worker ordered vermicelli with grilled chopped pork (VND40,000).

In my soup, shredded chicken meat, sausage, poached egg yolk and herb were arranged in a colourful pattern. The chicken broth was probably the sweetest yet lightest broth I have ever tasted. Before I knew it, I had scraped my bowl clean!

 

Uncomplicated: Rice noodles and chicken soup (pho ga) is a pleasant change from the ubiquitous pho bo (beef noodle soup).
To end the meal: Fried sticky rice cakes with sesame seeds.
Old favourite: Bun cha, rice noodles with grilled chopped pork.
 
My co-worker was also satisfied with her grilled pork. She said she appreciated knowing that the herbs that accompanied the dish were clean and safe to eat - unlike those from a street vendor.

The owner, Dang Hoang Nguyen, was born in Ha Noi and grew up infatuated with the city's street food. For him, Thuc is a means of recreating childhood delicacies like escargot vermicelli and shredded pig-ear. "Each street food has its own beauty. I want to gather all the dishes onto one menu, and give customers an option to eat outside, just like on the street," he says.

A friend who is an expert on traditional Ha Noi food helped him set up the menu, he said. Together, they shared the difficult task of deciding which foods to exclude.

"We do not want to have too many dishes on the menu. For now, we just offer a few traditional dishes that are cheap and don't take much time for our chef to prepare. When the customers get accustomed to them, we will try some new ones, like radish pancake, a very old Ha Noi tradition," Nguyen says.

Besides the eleven main courses, visitors can choose from several desserts, like fried sticky rice cake with sesame (VND3,000/piece), lotus seed in thick mungbean syrup (VND15,000) or longan syrup (VND20,000)and pudding (VND10,000).

At Thuc Restaurant, the past of Ha Noi comes back to vivid life. — VNS

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