Nui thit heo is macaroni soup with meat. I’m not gonna lie this was not a Vietnamese dish that I had expected to try, but not only try it, but fall in love I did.
Vietnamese food in Cambodia
From Num Pang to Banh Chao, Vietnamese influences are never far from Cambodian cuisine. But, where you have similarities of course you have differences!
To read about banh chao click here
To read about num pang click here
Craving a Vietnamese feast I went online looking for the best Vietnamese restaurant in Phnom Penh. Magnolia was actually ranked the second best, BUT the top ranked one was further away and specialized in pho. I am not a pho man. To me pho is street food, not fancy food, and if I want a noodle soup i’d go for Bun Bo Hue.
To read about bun bo hue click here .
I’ll eventually give Magnolia Vietnamese restaurant its own article, but i’ll simply say that the ambience was that of a colonial French-Vietnamese affair, and 24 hours later I am still eating their food.
It’s all about the appetizers!
On this occasion I certainly had eyes bigger than my belly (and I have a big belly). I had ordered banh bot loc, a kid of Vietnamese tapioca dumpling, but when I saw Nui thit heo AKA macaroni soup, I felt that it had to be tried. Vietnam has a rich culture of soupy noodles after all, but pasta noodles? My companion took some persuasion, but eventually we went for it.
To read about banh bot loc click here .
The menu stated macaroni soup with pork, but as it turned out you could pick your weapon of choice when it came to the meat. Compromise meant we went for nui thit heo with beef.
The banh bot loc came first, very good, but not at all filling. Then came the nui thit heo with beef. A big old bowl of soup, but no my surprise no sharing bowls, and just one spoon. I was to step up first. More on that later.
So, what is nui thit heo?
As to what nui thit heo is and its origins, well the internet had scant information about the dish. It was also seem that it has alternate spellings, and variations, such as Nui Suon Heo, which has pork ribs.
From what I can gather thoughnui thit heo is pretty much macaroni soup with meat. And that is what I ordered.
So, what is nui thit heo? It is a clear soup made with radishes, carrots, and a few other veggies, with macaroni added as kind of a filler. In this case you pick the meat that you want. I went for beef, which meant thin slices of what asked like BBQ beef being added to the dish.
How is nui thit heo served?
Like all Vietnamese soups it comes with the huge salad bowl that you can choose how much to throw in. This mostly consists of bean sprouts. I guess I threw about a third in before taking the plunge and starting to eat.
OK, so overall I am not a fan of soupy noodles, be it from China, or Vietnam, or Korea. My go to is the fried noodle, this is partly taste and also partly because I always end up with crap over my shirt. I also tend to find them a little bland. No so with nui thit heo! With hindsight going for the beef was a top choice. This was big old bits of beef with a very healthy portion of macaroni! The macaroni was the filler, as stated rather than the soup. For me at least it beat the slimy noodles that you get in a pho. Sorry guys, pho is overrated.
In fact by the time I was prepared to hand it over to others, it was slightly lacking in meat.
Nui thit heo AKA Macaroni with meat, a fabulous fusion dish from the Vietnamese. Seems not be that common, but in my humble opinion a great change having pasta instead of noodles in a soup. I’ll even add that whilst I usually add hot sauce and the like, I ate this one as is. And it was perfect.
So, nui thit heo?
The street food guy gives a big thumbs up!