Anthony Bourdain: I don’t know how you missed this place. The first time I went here, I didn’t like the idea of making this my midnight snack since it’s a meal in itself. 3 years ago, on my first trip to Ho Cho Minh, we saw this curious place infront of our hotel…it never closes, they seem to serve only a few things, and they don’t seem to run out of people…This is Cat Tuong (Ka-Chung is how you say it) and it’s just a couple of blocks away from Benh Than Market…and on our last trip to Viet, it was right in front of our hotel. I’ve been wondering how their broth could taste that way…it’s so deep and flavorful and it actually has that characteristic that you think there was some form of ham or wild game in it because of that slight funk (yes, this soup almost smells like cheese).
Even on one trip, one of our chefs who tried to know about the secret ingredients was to no avail. He was very poor at speaking one of the Chinese dialects that the owner speaks…apparently, these guys migrated from China to Vietnam and introduced this glorious and delightful soup broth the wonderful people who have found out about it. He tried to point to the jarred fruits on the side of his store…but our chef didn’t understand what he meant. We therefore concluded that the secret of this magnificent broth might actually be in one of those jars…aside from the fact that their broth boils 24/7 with chickens in them.
You can pick the chicken part…a bowl costs about Dong 60,000….CHEAPPPP!
The chicken in Vietnam is different. It’s yellow and has that characteristic yellow fat. It’s tender and juicy, whatever part you pick.
The soup is doused with lotsa spring onions and coriander, and you have a side of lime and a spiced salt which you can eat with the soup. This is chicken pho heaven and this was our last meal prior to leaving the airport. With the soup and chicken so tasty and tender, along with the onions and herbs…it’s no wonder that Cat Tuong seems to just be getting more and more customers daily. How do we know this? They now have a screaming neon sign outside their establishment when 3 years ago, we couldn’t even figure out the sign.