The shop that introduced bánh canh cua to Hue is still serving to its faithful customers.
These days, few places in the former imperial citadel specialize in the soup that combines thick noodles and crab meat.
Lovers of the dish still line up outside Nga’s restaurant at 32 Pham Hong Thai Street.
A big pot of broth, noodles and crab meat are placed right at the entrance.
The shop’s namesake owner cooked up the dish’s original recipe 15 years ago and continues to preside over the operation — which has become a destination, particularly for Japanese tourists.
Each bowl used to cost VND5,000 (now less than 25 US cents) and came loaded with whole pieces of claw meat. Nga now charges around $1 a bowl.
Not much else has changed since she started, though the restaurant has turned to buying crabs from Tam Giang Lagoon, which are smaller but just as sweet as the local variety.
Each bowl of broth is individually heated to order in a small pot and topped with fresh herbs.
Every bowl gets to the table steaming hot.
Extra spoonfuls of home-made crab paste are available upon request.
Nga’s restaurant is open all day, but gets most crowded in late afternoon.