Why did pho become the star of all the Vietnamese noodle soups? Because if you venture into other big bowls of noodles from this coastal nation, there’s plenty to love, like the banh canh tom cua. It contains thick noodles in an even thicker broth fragrant with whiffs of seafood.
Hu tieu dai dac biet comes loaded with ground pork, clear, chewy mung bean noodles, shrimp and greens—and no broth. The broth, sweet and porky, comes on the side, giving the diner the ability to moisten the ingredients or sip the broth on its own. “It’s the forgotten noodle soup,” says my friend, a former food blogger raised in Southern California by Vietnamese parents. “It should have more fans than it does.”
▶ Vietnamese; Order: Hu tieu dai dac biet, banh canh tom cua
Huong Viet, 6785 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church