Situated at 5 Hang Voi Street, Ly Thai To Ward, Hoan Kiem District, the bean porridge served with fried tofu made by Mrs. Kim Oanh consistently bustles with patrons, especially during lunch.
Ms. Oanh used to offer both noodle soups and porridge. But, facing difficulties and aiming for simplicity, her daughter advised her to concentrate only on porridge.
This eatery accommodates approximately 20 diners simultaneously. Customers can place their orders at the preparation counter before taking their seats.
The staff consists of about three people who take turns with orders, serving customers, and handling transactions. The place gets crowded on sunny days, sometimes leading to a lack of available seats.
As the name suggests, the dish consists of mung bean or black bean porridge served with fried tofu and salted eggplant.
A key contributor to the dish’s flavor profile is the salted eggplant. The eggplants are dried in the sun for a nice crisp, then soaked in salt water for four days to become flavorful and tender.
For the tofu to achieve a golden and crispy texture on the outside but be tender inside, it needs to be deep-fried in oil for 20 minutes. After frying and draining, the tofu is then marinated with green onions and fish sauce.
Ms. Oanh also offers braised ribs, stir-fried chicken with mushrooms, and ground pork as toppings.
To accommodate diners, extra tables and chairs are placed on the sidewalk. Mainly visited by office workers, the typical order is fried tofu, salted eggplant, and eggs, priced at VND24,000 ($1).
Nguyen Tu Giang has been a regular customer for nearly two years. He usually chooses bean porridge for lunch, finding it a refreshing and light option. “The combination of flavors, particularly the salted eggplant and fried tofu, complements the porridge perfectly,” Giang said.
Customers can also request extra salted eggs for VND7,000 each and pickled radishes for added enjoyment. A sprinkle of pepper is suggested to enhance the dish’s flavor.
Prices range from VND15,000 to VND40,000 (60 cents to $1.60) per bowl, depending on the choice.
Operating from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, the restaurant offers parking in the front yard.