Prawn and pork broth with rice noodles

Prawn and pork broth with rice noodles

Hu tieu

Real Vietnamese Cooking
Michael Fountoulakis

This attractive and utterly delicious noodle soup is to the Saigonese what pho is to their northern compatriots. Traditionally served by street vendors as a hearty breakfast, it is now available any time of the day or night. What makes this particular version truly unique is the subtle smoky flavour achieved by adding dried squid to the broth.


Quantity Ingredient
250g pork loin, fat and sinew removed
18 prawns, peeled and deveined
300g dried rice vermicelli
bean sprouts
4 spring onions, sliced
thai basil, chopped
coriander leaves, chopped
1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
3 limes, cut in half


Quantity Ingredient
1 dried squid
5 chicken carcasses
1 pig's trotter, cut into four pieces
2 onions, quartered
3 carrots, each cut into thirds
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns


  1. To prepare the broth, first soak the dried squid in warm water for 30 minutes to remove any excess salt.
  2. While the squid is soaking, place the chicken carcasses and pig's trotter in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Slowly bring to a simmer, skimming off any froth that rises to the surface.
  3. Drain the squid and add it to the broth, along with the vegetables, garlic, fish sauce and peppercorns. Simmer for 2 hours, skimming regularly to ensure you have a clear broth. Strain the stock and discard the bones, squid, vegetables and peppercorns.
  4. Clean the saucepan and pour the broth back in. Return to a simmer. Gently lower the pork into the broth and poach for 15 minutes. Remove the pork to a board and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  5. While the pork is resting, poach the prawns in the broth for 1-2 minutes, until just cooked.
  6. Meanwhile, soak the vermicelli in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Gently stir to separate the noodles, then drain and refresh under cold water. Use kitchen scissors to cut the vermicelli into easy-to-manage lengths. Divide among six deep bowls.
  7. Top the noodles with the bean sprouts, pork slices, prawns, spring onion, herbs and chilli. Ladle the hot broth into the bowls and serve immediately, with lime wedges on the side, and extra fish sauce, if desired.
Real Vietnamese Cooking
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