Hu Tieu Mi - Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup

For broth
  • 6 pounds pork bones (neck or spine---Grandma says that spine is tastiest)
  • 1 daikon, cut in half or thirds
  • 1 cup dried shrimp or 2 dried cuttlefish
  • 7 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon monosodium glutamate (optional)

For toppings and garnish

  • 1.5 pounds ground pork
  • 1.5 pounds pork shoulder/butt
  • 2 bunch scallions, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For noodles

Make broth

Place the pork bones in a large stockpot. Fill the stockpot with enough water to cover the surface of the bones and bring to a boil. The pork bones will have some impurities that need to be washed away, so once the water comes to a boil, discard it and collect the bones in a colander.

One by one, rinse the bones to remove any scum. The cleaner the bones, the clearer the broth will be.

After giving the stockpot a thorough cleaning, fill it with 8 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Make sure to leave room for the water to rise when you add the bones and daikon. Once the water has come to a boil, add in the cleaned bones, daikon, and dried shrimp or cuttlefish. Let the broth come to a boil once more, skimming the surface as needed using a fine mesh skimmer.

Next, lower the heat to medium-low and bring all of the ingredients to a gentle simmer (such that you see a few small bubbles breaking the surface every few seconds) and cook for 3-4 hours, skimming off any fat or foam that rises to the surface. Be sure that the broth is not boiling to avoid a cloudy broth. If the broth reduces too much, add additional water.

Finally, season the broth with salt, fish sauce, sugar, and monosodium glutamate if using. The broth should taste just a touch saltier than one would expect to desire because the noodles and garnishes aren't seasoned for the most part.

Make ground pork topping

While the broth is simmering on the stove, prepare the garnishes and toppings. Combine the ground pork with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and chopped scallions (one bunch, white parts only). Once the pork mixture is thoroughly combined, cover, and set in the refrigerator.

Make fried pork topping

In a saute pan with a lid, heat two tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the pork shoulder/butt and cover with the lid. The goal is to sear and caramelize the pork's exterior and fully cook the interior. Turn the pork every 5-10 minutes as each side browns.

Repeat until each side of the meat has been seared and the interior is fully cooked. Set aside to cool completely.

The meat is ready to be sliced once it is completely cool.

Assemble Hu Tieu Mi

Place a portion of noodles in each soup bowl and garnish with chopped scallions (white and green parts) and slices of fried pork.

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, ladle in enough broth for the number of servings that you are preparing at that time, approximately 2 cups of broth for each bowl. Bring the broth to a boil and add the ground pork mixture, approximately 1/4 cup per person.

Once the pork is completely cooked, ladle the hot broth into the prepared noodle bowls. Serve immediately.

Makes 10 to 12 servings. The recipe can be easily halved both in proportions and cooking time if necessary.