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The Oldest Hủ Tiếu Bò Viên in Town

Category: Cuisine   |   May 17, 2021

With only three dishes on the menu, this hủ tiếu spot has been running for more than five decades.

With only three dishes on the menu, this hủ tiếu spot has been running for more than five decades.

Even though it doesn’t have any grand name or eye-catching design, the consistency in the is the central appeal to its longstanding reputation.

Whether it is a rainy day or an extremely humid day at Saigon, Hủ Tiếu Bò Viên 153 is often packed with customers. The unchanging taste of the noodles seems to be the best selling point of the store. Thus, prior to our arrival, I was anxious whether we would have a table to enjoy our Friday after-work meal.

Luckily, we were the only ones there at the time, a surprising scene for this usually crowded place. It had been three years since my last visit, and it still looks the same as how I remember it even from ten years ago — the same chairs and tables, with a hidden aquarium along the back wall. Indeed, time seems to have stopped here.

When I was a child, my grandma would always take me here and order a portion of meatballs for my evening meal: it is my grandmother’s favorite restaurant. Despite her reputation for being a stingy grandma, in the early 2000s she was willing to spend VND30,000 for a bowl of noodle soup with only three meatballs. Over the nearly 20 years that I've been coming back, the chef still offers only three meatballs, no more, no less.

This consistency is a theme for Hủ Tiếu Bò Viên 153, even while many restaurants continuously change their menu to keep diners interested. The longstanding three dishes are noodle soup with meatballs (hủ tiếu bò viên), noodle soup with assorted meats (hủ tiếu thập cẩm), and noodle soup with beef flank (hủ tiếu tái nạm). The three dishes use the same soup base; thus, the only difference between them is their toppings.


Some might say that the menu is boring; however, the meatball is a crucial ingredient for its success. Since the meatball is the signature food of this place, the most popular dish here is the hủ tiếu bò viên. Unlike most bò viên elsewhere, these are chewy and juicy, with the signature taste of Chinese spices and herbs. Moreover, the flavor is not too strong: the cook seasons the bò viên with the right amount of spices so that you still taste the savory flavor of the beef, along with the pungent soup base.

With more than 50 years of building loyal customers, the store has already established a strong reputation for its quality. In fact, they have even expanded their business by distributing bò viên to other vendors.


See more about Saigon Street Food : https://www.facebook.com/123cheers/videos/3884132234998218/



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