American food vlogger Sonny Side traveled from north to south Vietnam to try the country’s signature noodle-based dishes such as chicken noodle soup and snail noodle, calling them “must-try before you die.”
“Vietnam is a country that loves street food and that loves noodles of all shapes and sizes,” said American filmmaker Will Sonbuchner, alias, Sonny Side, whose YouTube channel has 9.7 million subscribers.
In Hanoi, he tried pho ga (chicken noodle soup) at 289 Giang Vo Street in Kim Ma Ward, which has been open for decades. He was impressed by the dish as the chef uses all parts of the chicken, including chicken meat, organs, the chicken crest, young eggs and even pygostyle.
Bowls of chicken noodle soup at a restaurant in Hanoi. Photo by Ngoc Diep
Sonny sipped a spoonful of chicken noodle soup, saying “Oh it’s heartwarming, it’s like your parents giving you a hug.”
In addition, he also tried bun oc (snail noodle) at the Ha Thanh stall on Phu Dong Thien Vuong St., calling it “a beloved staple of Hanoi.” The family-owned restaurant has been serving freshwater snails with noodles for over 70 years.
A bowl of bun oc (snail noodles) in Hanoi. Photo by Diep Tu
“At first sight, these snails look weird and bizarre and a little bit funky but they taste good,” he said.
Leaving Hanoi, Sonny traveled to Hue, Vietnam’s former feudal capital, before heading to Da Nang and Hoi An where he visited noodle factories and learned to make noodles in the traditional way.
In Hue, he didn’t forget to sample the original taste of bun bo Hue (Hue-style beef noodle soup), a dish that put Hue on the global culinary map, although different versions of the dish can be found in major cities like HCMC.
The broth requires both pig and beef bones to be boiled with a generous dose of lemongrass, sugar, annatto, and shrimp paste. Vendors then add various ingredients such as sliced brisket, crab balls. Adventurous eaters can also add cubed pig’s blood for even more flavor.
In Hoi An, Sonny tried cao lau, which features poached noodles, bean sprouts and herbs from famous Tra Que Village, garnished with thin slices of barbeque pork and crispy fried pig skin.
Saying goodbye to central region, Sonny moved south to the Mekong Delta, where he visited floating markets in Long Xuyen Town of An Giang Province to try a bowl of bun ca (fish noodle soup) on a small boat for VND20,000 ($0.85).
“Oh it’s so spicy,” he said. I hate turmeric and I taste spice,” Sonny said while trying the popular dish of the south.
Sonny has lived in Asia for more than 10 years, making videos about his food experiences. The series “Best Ever Food Review Show” on his YouTube channel introduces the unique dishes of each country through his perspective, attracting millions of views.
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