Barnaby Monk 5:30 a.m., Sept. 28
Noodling Around: Hủ Tiếu Mi Kho from Pho King
Here's another nice Vietnamese noodle dish that's good when it's a bit warmer. This one combines the stretch and chew of Hủ Tiếu along with the crunch of Mi, or egg noodles. It's a winning combination when you're not sure what to get. The dish is served "dry", that is with some pork based broth on the side, in addition to the a very nice salty,sweet, soy-based sauce studded with garlic and some ground pork. Chinese celery, lettuce, and bean sprouts are provided as garnish, adding another layer of texture to the dish.
The noodles come topped of with a wide array of items including shrimp, squid, fish balls, BBQ and ground pork, and dried shallots.
Sometimes figuring out how to eat the dish might be the biggest challenge of them all. I usually start with chopstick and spooin in hand and mix the items in the bowl. I add the Chinese celery (which has a much stronger, assertive flavor then Western Celery) and bean sprouts and mix again. Depending on how you want your noodles; some prefer segregation, Hủ Tiếu on one side..... Mi on the other for each bite. You can work a bit harder and get everything mixed together in more thorough manner, but I'm usually too impatient.
I'll usually start by dipping the noodles into the sauce for each mouthful, or even sometimes the pork broth. In the end, staring at all the ground pork and what ever may be left, I'll pour the remaining sauce into the bowl and go at it. If you enjoy contrasting textures, this might be the noodle dish for you. It's priced right at $7.25 for a large bowl.
As for the endless puns and riffs of the name of the place..... I was told by a couple of sources what the story is. But I'll save that for another day.
Pho King Restaurant 4658 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, CA 92115
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