Close your eyes. What comes to mind when you hear the words ‘Vietnamese street food’? Do you hear the honks of motorcycles, the cheerful hustle and bustle of markets? Are your senses assaulted with a thousand different flavours and smells?
This May, a different kind of Vietnamese cuisine comes to Hong Kong. It goes beyond the popular banh mi and pho and, instead, features the dishes of Saigon’s most famous food icon: Nguyen Thi Thành aka The Lunch Lady. Cô Thành shot to fame when her food stall was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations food and travel show in 2009. Since then, her stall has been packed with locals and tourists alike, all clamouring for a taste of her special sauce. She only serves one dish each day out of a rotation of local Vietnamese noodles based on what is fresh that day. The stall opens at 11am and is often sold out before 1pm.
Brian Woo, the co-founder of Three Monkeys, apprenticed under Cô Thành for three years to master her time-tested recipes. Over 70 percent of the ingredients used in the Hong Kong restaurant are tasted and hand-picked by Cô Thành’s team to ensure authenticity and are flown in fresh from Vietnam.
We can’t wait to tuck into the highlights, which include bún mam, a seafood gumbo made with preserved fish and shrimp paste, and bánh canh cua, a thick soup of crab, pork and mushroom on top of silky tapicoa noodles.
Stayed tuned for more on the upcoming opening this May!
2–4 Kau U Fong, Sheung Wan