Mỳ gà tần is a sound combination of instant noodles, mugwort, and oriental herbs. With such not only yummy but super healthful ingredients, it is a common dish for sick people, especially after they have recovered. Not long ago, when I caught the terrible flu, each day, my mother bought me a portion of this dish. Despite my having no appetite, the noodles were pretty enjoyable and fragrant with the smell of chicken and mugwort mixed with different types of herbs which are particularly good for one’s recovery. Best served when hot, this would not be the top choice in boiling summers, but in bleak winters in Hanoi.
The delicacy is imbued with both bitterness, deriving from mugwort and Chinese herbs, and sweetness, coming from chicken bones and flesh. One can choose either white or black chicken, with the latter containing less fat and slightly sweeter than the former.
In Hanoi, the most famous food stall for mỳ gà tần is located at the intersection of Hàng Cân St., Hàng Bồ St. and Lương Văn Can St. This tiny stall has been serving the dish for nearly 20 years. However, its reputation sometimes makes it overcrowded and the stall has to set tables on the pavement to serve the dish. Another destination is No.12C Hàng Cót St., where there are proper seats and opening hours are from 6 am until 11 pm, while their aforementioned counterpart only serves after 5 pm.
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If you haven’t had plan to travel in Hanoi yet, follow these instructions to make yourself a delicious portion of Mỳ gà tần at home:
Ingredients: Chicken (Vietnamese chicken), Wormwood, Chinese herbs (available from Asian supermarkets and Chine pharmacies), Turmeric, Vietnamese wine, Salt, pepper, seasoning
- Wash the chicken well. Rub with salt, pepper, and seasoning. Marinate inside and out for 30’.
- Wash the fresh green wormwood, removing any wilted leaves.
- Prepare the chicken, Chinese herbs, turmeric, wormwood leaves.
- Place the wormwood layer in the bottom of a clay pot, adding the chicken, Chinese herbs, and turmeric. Top with another layer of wormwood leaves, add 100ml of water, and cover with a lid.
- Put the clay pot into a larger saucepan with water. Steam over medium heat for 30’. After that, turn off heat but leave the clay pot for another 30’.
- 10’ before serving, bring this mixture to a boil again and add 20ml of rice wine, continuing to steam for another 5’.
- Boil the noodles in the pot, when it is cooked, take out the noodles with chicken and then enjoy it!