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Quán Hủ Tiếu Mỹ Tho Thanh Xuân in Ho Chi Minh · Taste of Old Saigon @ Fourth Generation Noodle Legend


I was last in Ho Chi Minh City more than a decade and so was eager to join foodie buddy Aaron on his family trip. Our first meal soon after we checked in at the hotel was this saucy, lor mee type noodle dish which I have never tried before.

Stall name: Quán Hủ Tiếu Mỹ Tho Thanh Xuân

Address: 62 Tôn Thất Thiệp, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Hours: 7:00am - 2:00pm (close at 7pm on Sat & Sun)


It's a quaint yet typically Vietnamese type of side lane stall with a time weathered, vintage signboard. This stall has been here since 1946 i.e. 76 years old.


Cooking is done in a makeshift kitchen in the narrow gritty lane. Literally a hole in the wall, it is easy to walk past and miss this legendary hawker gem (unless pointed out by someone who knows). 


Customers eat inside the lane or on the side walk perched on plastic stools around tiny tables. (There were a couple more stalls inside when we burrowed deeper into the lane but they were not opened for the day yet.) 

Mr. Do Van Khue, the founder of Quán Hủ Tiếu Mỹ Tho Thanh Xuân came to Ho Chi Minh City (then Saigon) from nearby Mỹ Tho City in 1946 to make a living. He came to the Cha Pagoda area of Saigon and was allowed to run a noodle shop at the entrance of the alley leading to houses belonging Cha Pagoda. The little noodle shop doubled as a guard house of sort and has remained here ever since.

The name Thanh Xuân (youth / spring) is the name of the founder's grandson (in reverse order).

Quán Hủ Tiếu Mỹ Tho Thanh Xuân literally means "Thanh Xuân Mỹ Tho Noodle Shop". Source


They have both the
lor (sauce) and soup version of noodles.


I had the
lor version which is blanched yellow noodles and various ingredients doused with a thick gooey starchy brown sauce. 

The sauce was well balanced with sweet and umami savoury flavours. There seemed to be fermented soy beans in the sauce, the sweet type. The taste of Thanh Xuân's well guarded sauce is unique and nostalgic to its many long time fans who said it hasn't changed for decades.

Our bowls of noodles were loaded with generous amounts of ingredients such as prawn, crab claw, minced pork, char siew (roast lean pork), pork liver, heart, quail egg, etc. All were fresh and added their different textures and flavours to the dish.

The noodles came with a small bowl of sweet savoury clear soup.


The noodles also came with a dish of raw vegetables like bean sprouts and leafy greens. The generous raw vegetables is one of the signatures of south Vietnamese (and also Cambodian) dishes which I appreciate a lot. I like the mix of tannic and sweet tastes as well as aromas of fresh crunchy, chewy, juicy greens. 


Like lor mee in Singapore, I like it with a spoonful of spicy raw garlic.

There were also little fire cracker bird's eye chili peppers to jolt our tastebuds. 


This stall and dish was a great start to our short Ho Chi Minh food trail. The dish was new to me and easy to like as its sweet savoury profile is familiarly delicious. The hyperlocal setting added flavours to the experience.

Locals eat the noodles with paté chaud cake, a puff pastry filled with pork liver and minced meat paté. The stall makes only 100 of these cakes per day. Didn't try it this round. Shall not miss it the next time.  

Written by Tony Boey on 22 July 2022

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