The modest eatery, situated outside an apartment building at 32 Thap Muoi Street, has been a place for its owner, Le Thi Bich Thuan, 50, to showcase her cooking skills for the last 30 years.
She would have a different breakfast menu every day of the week. It could be a hot beef pho noodle soup, bun bo Hue (Hue-style beef noodles), hu tieu (Chinese noodles), vermicelli noodles, or braised beef.
“What’s for today?” are the first words many people ask when they arrive at Co Thuan’s (Aunt Thuan) eatery.
Son Hanh, a customer from District 6, asked in surprise: “Yesterday the broth was red, now it’s yellow. What have you put in there, Thuan? Is this pho or bun bo?”
Hanh has been a regular for a year. “Except on vegetarian days, I come here for breakfast. I like bun bo Hue and hu tieu with meatballs the most. The price is reasonable too.”
Thuan is the main cook while her husband serves and cleans. Photo by VnExpress/Huynh Nhi.
Thuan explained the reason for changing dishes every day: “I reckoned my customers would soon grow bored of eating the same dish every day. Plus they like my cooking.”
Thuy is another regular patron from District 6. She is in fact so familiar with things that she takes her own bowl, pours the broth and cleans up after finishing her meal.
“We all know each other, and so if the owner is busy, everyone wants to pitch in to help,” she said.
Beef pho is one of the eatery’s most popular dishes. A bowl of pho includes rare beef, beef flank and meatballs served with herbs like basil and culantro and costs VND30,000 ($1.3).
A bowl of beef pho. Photo by VnExpress/Huynh Nhi.
The stall is usually open from 6:00 a.m to 9:00 a.m. Most guests buy takeout since there is limited space with only two tables and six little stools.
A dish for one person costs VND30,000 ($1.3).