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This Vietnamese chicken noodle soup stall in Hanoi still wins hearts and bellies after 30 years of service

Tuesday, December 13, 2022, 16:04 GMT+7
This Vietnamese chicken noodle soup stall in Hanoi still wins hearts and bellies after 30 years of service
Customers enjoy ‘bun thang’ at 48 Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A rustic noodle stall located in Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi has been drawing massive crowds from 5:00 pm to midnight almost every day for nearly three decades thanks to its delicious bun thang.

Bun thang (Vietnamese chicken soup), a Hanoian delicacy, is renowned for its deep, flavorful broth.

The word ‘thang’ comes from the phrase ‘thang thuoc,’ which loosely translates to a packet of traditional medicine.

A close-up of the homemade broth of ‘bun thang Ba Duc’ at 48 Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A close-up of the homemade broth of ‘bun thang Ba Duc’ at 48 Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Each bowl of bun thang features a coterie of ingredients specifically arranged in the bowl, mimicking how oriental medicine doctors arrange and administer medications.  

In bun thang, these 'medications' include chicken, pork bones, chicken bones, radishes, onions, and shiitake mushrooms. 

Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, the current owner of the Ba Duc bun thang stall at 48 Cau Go Street – a 30-year-old neighborhood establishment – claims that the secret to a great bowl of bun thang is developing a perfect broth with fresh ingredients.

Chicken is one of the main ingredients at ‘bun thang Ba Duc’ on Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Chicken is one of the main ingredients at ‘bun thang Ba Duc’ on Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

“A tasty broth carries a golden hue and flavorful taste,” Ngoc shared.

The thin vermicelli used in bun thang is soaked in boiling water before being placed in a bowl. Then, each ingredient is carefully placed atop the vermicelli before broth is poured over the top. 

A finished bowl of bun thang is topped with eggs, chicken, herbs, and red with chili peppers, creating a colorful collage of ingredients.

All diners need to do is top the dish with some fermented shrimp paste and slurp down the steaming broth to escape the winter cold in the Vietnamese capital.

A bowl of bun thang and other side dishes at ‘bun thang Ba Duc’ on Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A bowl of 'bun thang' and other side dishes at ‘bun thang Ba Duc’ on Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

“I’ve tried bun thang in Ho Chi Minh City, but the flavor in Hanoi is absolutely different. I truly appreciate the gentle, sweet flavor of the broth. I also love the rustic vibe of this noodle stall,” said Xuan Vinh, a first-time diner at Ba Duc.

Ngoc and her husband wake up early each day to prepare a fresh batch of bun thang for evening diners. By 4:00 pm, they are ready to serve.

A customer enjoys bun thang at 48 Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A customer enjoys 'bun thang' at 48 Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

They usually wrap up their service at about 10:00 pm though they stay open much later on weekends.

Ngoc had been a white-collar worker before taking over Ba Duc from her mother-in-law.

“Inheriting the family business is my great luck because it is a beautiful family tradition that I can pass down to future generations,” Ngoc said.

The staff prepare bun thang for customers at 48 Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Staff prepare 'bun thang' for customers at 48 Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Bowls of bun thang are prepared at 48 Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Bowls of 'bun thang' are prepared at 48 Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Bowls of bun thang and other side dishes are served at ‘bun thang Ba Duc’ on Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Bowls of 'bun thang' and other side dishes are served at ‘bun thang Ba Duc’ on Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Customers enjoy ‘bun thang’ at 48 Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Customers enjoy ‘bun thang’ at 48 Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

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