Every region in Viet Nam features unique culinary specialties. Pho hails from Ha Noi. Bun bo comes from the central city of Hue.
And the wide, yellow noodles of mi Quang can be traced back to the central province of Quang Nam.
Mi Quang has been served in Quang Nam since the 14th century. The noodle dish is a harmonious combination of fresh ingredients.
It is eaten with toasted Vietnamese sesame rice crackers, fried shallots and herbs, such as rau ram (fragrant knotweed), coriander, perilla and lettuce. The Mi Quang dish is delicious and features a distinctive aftertaste.
Culinary expert Nguyen Thi Kim Chi, of the Quan An Ngon chain of restaurants, says mi Quang’s simple roots stem from a dish originally meant for labourers.
Ancient settlers in the region used locally sourced fresh ingredients – including whatever seasonal plants, meats and fish they had on hand – to create their culinary traditions.
“Over time, mi Quang became the pride of locals. We cherish its original, aromatic flavour and the way it represents the solid cultural values of our native village,” says Chi.
Mi Quang chefs often customise the style, flavor and ingredients of the dish to individual taste, using whatever ingredients they have on hand.
The art of the sauce and dumplings also varies with each chef. Some use chicken or pig bones. Either way, the sauce should have a sweet flavour quite different from pho broth cooked with oxen bone.
The late poet Bui Giang dreamed of enjoying a bowl of mi Quang before passing away. Similarly, the late writer Nguyen Van Xuan was obsessed with eating the dish under bamboo shade in his native village.
Huynh Van Toi, from Quang Nam, says Phu Chiem is the Quang noodle’s native village.
Part of Phu Chiem’s fame stems from a broth of simmering shrimp and salty side pork. The resulting broth is a very thick, bright and cheerful red, which is considered part of the dish’s allure. Phu Chiem’s Quang noodles should be eaten with green or red chili to accentuate their peppery, warm salty flavour in the broth and dumpling.
“This expresses the real culinary style of the central people,” Toi says.
Toi’s grandfather Huynh Huy, 90, tells this story of the dish’s origins:
“After the sudden death of King Che Man, or Jaya Simhavarman III — the 34th king of the Cham-Pa kingdom (1288-1307) — Queen Huyen Tran ought to have been burned with the king’s other imperial maids, in accordance with the kingdom’s law. But her brother, the King of Dai Viet sent his men to bring the queen back to her native country. Here in Quang Nam’s Danh Village she was granted 32 mau (each mau is about 3,600sq.m) of good land. She taught locals weaving and then granted them 28 mau of land to grow rice and produce Quang noodles. Now Quang noodles are essential at every party and gathering of Quang Nam people.”
These days Quang noodles are available everywhere in the country’s major metropolitan areas, including Ha Noi, HCM City and Da Nang. Each location cooks the dish in its own style – be it chicken, beef or pork noodle – says culinary expert Chi.
You can sample Quang noodles all over Viet Nam
My Son Quang Noodle
20 Nguyen Hong, Dong Da District. Phone: (04) 37739779
Mi Quang Quan
2C Quang Trung, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem District.
Quan An Ngon Chain
18 Phan Boi Chau Street. Phone: (04) 39428162/63
25 T2 Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh. Phone: 04 35560866/67
34 Phan Dinh Phung. Phone: (04) 37349777
B2 Vincom Royal City. Phone: (04) 66640066
Ngon Pho: Third Floor Aeon Mall Long Bien. Phone: 0902227475
Mi Quang Ngon Pho Thi
– 50 Dinh Tien Hoang, Da Kao Ward, District 1. Phone: (08) 22130411
Mi Quang Sam
8 Ca Van Thinh, District 11. Phone: (08) 38637878
Mi Quang An La Nho
123 Tran Quoc Thao, Ward 7, District 3. Phone: (08) 22171433
Quan Mi Quang
99 Cuu Long, Ward 15, District 10. Phone: (08) 62756864
Quan Mi Quang Ngon Phan Thiet
52 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Da Kao Ward, District 1. Phone: 01225756780
Quang Nam – Da Nang:
37 Thang Binh Road, Quang Nam on Highway 1A (40km from Da Nang City)
Mi Quang Co Sau Nui Thanh
Block 1, Nui Thanh Towlet, Nui Thanh District. Phone: (0510) 3811959
Quan Mi Quang Ba Vi
166 Le Dinh Duong, Hai Chau, Da Nang. Phone: (0511) 3865651
Quan Mi Quang 1A
1 Hai Phong, Hai Chau 1, Da Nang. Phone: (0511) 3827936
Mi Quang Ba Mua
231 Dong Da, Hai Chau, Da Nang. Phone: 0985000075
Quan Mi Quang Ngon
199 Nguyen Hoang Road, Nam Duong Road, Hai Chau District. Phone: (0511) 3827418
by Ha Nguyen