Mien, a noodle made from cassava, is one of the most readily found ingredients in Vietnamese cuisine, and is scattered throughout national hallmark dishes such as Mien Xao (a fried dish served with either pork or chicken tripe) and Mien Tron (a spicy number incorporating beef, pawpaw, vinegar, sugar, salt and chili).
But Mien Nau, or noodle soup, is by far the most popular noodle-based serving delivered by Vietnam’s ever-present food stalls.
The meat staples of Mien Ga, or chicken and Mien Bo, beef, are also offset by the more adventurous Mien Luon, which uses eel as the protein.
Mien Ga is traditionally served by Vietnamese families celebrating the Tet New Year or during the anniversary of a loved one’s death, while Mien Luon is eaten year-round as it tends to mesh well with the four distinct seasons found in the northern part of the country.
If you are in the capital and want to know where the locals go for eel noodle soup, head to Mai Hac De , Hang Dieu, Nghi Tam or De La Thanh in Hanoi.
And if you’re like us, and you can’t get enough of the stuff, check out the recipe below to make it at home.
● Eel 0.5 kg
● noodles 0.2 kg
● ginger 2 slices
● spring onion 1 stalk
● parsley 1 stalk
● cooking oil 1/2 tbsp
● pepper pinch
● sugar pinch
● salt 1/2 tsp
1. Debone eel. Scald in hot water to remove innards. Wash and cut into thick strips.
2. Simmer the eel bone in a 1.5 litres of water for about an hour, add seasonings until broth becomes clear.
3. Cassava noodles are longer and tougher than rice noodles. Before cooking, cut the noodles into smaller pieces and then soak in water until tender.
4. Heat cooking oil. Add spring onion, ginger and then the eel. Stir in seasonings and simmer for 8 minutes until cooked.
5. Put noodles into a bowl, then the eel, parsley and pepper, and pour in the broth. Serve hot.