by Andrew Chalk
I can’t pronounce the name of this place, although I know that it rhymes with “who chewed my toe?”. I will also not hire their interior decorator to do painting for me, so garish is his choice of color (hi-viz clothing green) for the walls. That is where my dislikes end, however. Twenty-three dollars all in for a meal for the moll and I that gave us enough leftovers to repeat the event at home is a helluva’ bargain.
And this is nourishing, delicious, authentic food that doesn’t come from a menu of stereotypical dishes. From fermented fish noodle soup ($9.25) to a thick noodle soup of “pork feet”, trotters are so passé, ($8.59), to a choice of nearly a dozen variants of rice porridge, the practising exoticist will find plenty to choose here. I went for the more conventional shredded pork, grilled pork, bún ($8.75). With a double helping of fish sauce this was the kind of rich, surprising Vietnamese dish that I somehow think as definitive of this country’s cuisine. Hu Tieu My Tho version has the meat with lettuce, bean sprout, cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots, and roasted peanuts all crunching and blending together in the mouth. It is unfair, of course, to call bún definitive of a country whose culinary palette is so varied and which so seamlessly integrates French influences with its indigenous regions. Next, I shall try Bún Bò Hué, a Hué style beef noodle soup with pork feet, lemongrass and pork blood.
All of this food is spiced at a level that enriches the dining experience but not at the expense of a good bottle of BYOB. We brought 2014 Cambria Pinot Noir (Pommard Clone 4) from California’s prodigious Santa Maria Valley. Its soft texture stood up to the richness and its earthy flavors harmonized effortlessly with the food.
Hu Tieu My Tho is on West Walnut, just east of where civilization ends and Garland begins. We are continuing our search of unacknowledged (or under-acknowledged) restaurants in Dallas’ north east quadrant. West Walnut can make a claim to being the most target rich area for Vietnamese food and Hu Tieu My Tho is a great value contributor to that variety.
Recommended: BYOB, good value, friendly service, interesting menu that breaks the bounds of convention on Vietnamese food in Dallas. Dark glasses might make the color of the walls less invasive.
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