Saigon is a land that reflects the diversity of Vietnamese cuisine, including the Chinese-Vietnamese dishes. It is hard to find a Chinese noodle restaurant with an authentic, traditional, unique, and sophisticated style in Saigon. Still, Thiệu Ký, a Chinese noodle shop, is lying in a narrow alley of the city for more than 70 years.
Thiệu Ký: A 70-year-old hidden gem in a narrow alley of Saigon
Thiệu Ký noodle shop lies humbly in a small alley on Le Dai Hanh Street in District 11. The business has been passing down to three generations with more than 70 years of history.
In the beginning, Mr. Tư Ky just went around the neighborhood with his small Chinese noodle cart. Over time, it has become a well-known noodle shop with exquisite taste. Until today, the shop’s popularity remains in the heart of people loving Vietnamese cuisine. A bowl of noodles includes hand-pulled noodles, homemade toppings, along savory broth. Those features make the shop a precious gem in a valley in Saigon.
Thiệu Ký fresh handmade noodle
It is now a challenge to find handmade noodles restaurants in Saigon. The convenient manufactured noodles have conquered the market. However, at Thiệu Ký, the traditional handmade noodles are what made a name for the place.
Noodles are made from eggs, wheat flour, and lye water. This water is an essential ingredient to make the noodle chewy. The strands have a natural vibrant yellow hue without adding artificial colorings. After being kneaded thoroughly, the dough is left to rest then pulled into thin strands. The mixing and kneading steps are both manual, ensuring the noodles’ elasticity.
These handmade processes result in thin and stretchy noodle stands that are full of flavors to please customers. The Chinese-Vietnamese in Saigon believes that it is the signature of original Chinese noodles that Thiệu Ký successfully preserved.
The broth and toppings are cooked following authentic recipes
The broth is considered the soul of a bowl of noodles. Good broth links all of the tastes together, making a delicious bowl of noodles. Thiệu Ký noodle’s soul has a distinctively light and sweet flavor from pork bones cooked using the heirloom recipe. When ordering dry noodles, customers are given a bowl of broth with chicken liver and gizzard as an embellishment.
The toppings to go with the noodles, such as fried shrimp cakes, shredded chicken, Char Siu Pork, dumplings, and the crispy pork lard, are also cooked by the owner following the family’s recipes. At Thiệu Ký, customers can order any toppings they want. The top two favorites at this Chinese noodle shop are Char Siu and crispy lard.
The meticulousness and dedication put into every single detail of the dishes help Thiệu Ký noodle shop become a place for those who love Chinese cuisine.
70-year-old traditional noodle vendor
Another originality that makes Thiệu Ký spot on compared to others is the cart placed in front of the shop. It is the one that stood by Tư Ky during the first years of his business. It is decorated with glass mirrors painted iconic legends such as “Dong Zhou’s uproar at Fengyi Pavilion” or “Zhou Yu and the battle of Red Cliffs,” an exotic feature in the middle of Saigon.
It is absolutely not easy to find a noodle vendor that exudes traditional Chinese culture in Saigon. Though it looks a bit old, it is a distinguishing feature of Thiệu Ký that brings the diners and the renowned noodle bowls together.
Through the rise and fall of time, Thiệu Ký Chinese noodle shop is still standing tall today, lasting more than 70 years. If you want to explore Vietnamese cuisine, Thiệu Ký is one of the places that you should visit.
This content is also available in: Tiếng Việt