|Huynh Huu Hoai, owner of the Sau Hoai workshop (Photo: VOV)
“Hu tieu” is a signature dish of Vietnam’s southwestern region, served with seasoned, sautéed beef. The best “Hu tieu” noodles are made of “White Nung” rice, a locally grown type of rice. But “Hu tieu” makers in Can Tho now go to the neighboring province of Dong Thap to buy other types of rice to replace “White Nung” rice, which has become too scarce to meet production needs.
Many families in Cai Rang make “Hu tieu” noodles. The best-known workshops are Chin Cuu and Sau Hoai.
Each household has its own techniques to make its products distinctive, but they all use white rice, which they soak, grind, stir slowly into starch, pour in a thin coat over a mold, and then cut into noodles.
Huynh Huu Hoai, known as Sau Hoai, the owner of the Sau Hoai workshop, told VOV that because he adds vegetables and fruits to his noodle products, they have more color, nutrition, and are in greater demand.
“They sell four times as fast as traditional noodles. It’s very difficult for a traditional craft village like ours to survive. We’re happy when visitors want to learn more about our craft. This craft is fading out, so I don't want to charge admission to visitors who want to come,” said Hoai.
In addition to special dishes made from “Hu tieu” noodles, such as Hu Tieu Nam Vang or pork seafood noodle soup, “Hu tieu” noodle soup with seafood, and “Hu tieu” noodle soup with pork ribs, you can also try the famous “Hu tieu” pizza of Can Tho city.
The rice clear noodle, after being processed, is fried to create a crispy crust. On a plate it looks like a pizza. It can be served with fried eggs, peanuts, fresh vegetables, chili sauce, or ketchup.
|‘Hu tieu’ pizza, a unique dish of Sau Hoai workshop (Photo: VOV)
Nguyen Thi Diem Thuy, a resident of Cái Răng district in Can Tho, said, “When French tourists visited the village, we invited them to try our noodle cakes. They said it was delicious and named it ‘Hu tieu’ pizza. They found it very tasty.”
Although machinery is now part of the noodle-making process, some stages still need to be done manually. The trickiest stage is pouring a thin layer. That step requires great manual dexterity.
Visitors learn about the history of noodle craft villages and hear interesting stories about the craft. Many tourists enjoy the opportunity to try their own hand at making rice noodles.
According to Duong Thi Kim Ba, who works at the Sau Hoai workshop, “It's fun to work in this place, which is crowded with guests all day. The workshop provides a stable income and is a fun tourist destination. We enjoy teaching tourists how to make noodles.”