The Spot: Almost directly backing onto another pre-Hanoi pho swoop soup fave, this market street (25 Hoe Nhai) crack in the wall is opposite a large eastern medicine clinic, next to another noodle vendor selling hu tieu on one side and a sleazy looking karaoke bar on t'other. Veg, pork and tofu stalls abound all around.
Space and Atmosphere: Not much space to speak of here. The harsh-faced noodle ma is jammed into a nook with a doorway leading through to the adjacent dining area, a space no bigger than a prison cell, lit similarly with bright fluorescent light. The family altar is wedged into the corner, in front of which is a gold-plated plastic electric frog with flashing green eyes. This is a lucky charm for good fortune in business. The joint is empty.
Shopfront Style: It's all pots on pavement and bare light bulbs swinging in the cold wind.
Sticks, Condiments and Crockery: A 'knock your socks off' garlic vinegar, glossy blood-red chilli sauce and lime segments cut three hours ago constitute the trio of condiments. The chopsticks are finished timber rather than the standard bamboo...vail the forests of South-East Asia!
Serving Station: Noodle ma swivels on her plastic stool, between a little glass cabinet loaded up with all parts chicken and a blue plastic table atop of which are the prepared herbs, chopping block and cleaver and the essential noodles.
Meat Generosity: Generous shreds of white chicken flesh are sat on my mound of noodles. I'm now used to this 'special treatment' where I'm spared the skin and chewy bits simply because I'm a foreigner.
Order to Delivery Gap: As it's well past rush hour, the wait is only momentary.
Stock Factor: This woman is keeping Ajinomoto in business so the flavour of her stock is hard to judge. Note the big square tub of it in the above photograph.
Cost: 12,000VND (USD75c, AUD95c)
Rank: Seven of twelve