Like many of us, I love pho soup. A Vietnamese staple, it is hearty and light all at once, a beautiful balance of rich broth and springy rice noodles. But I've abandoned my pho excursions for a newer discovery: Canh Chua, a sweet-and-soup Vietnamese soup that tastes vaguely like Thailand's tom yum.
Instead of that rich beef and oxtail broth, it's a lighter base but seasoned with tamarind and rice paddy root, full of tomatoes and pineapple and seafood. Best eaten with steamed rice crepes stuffed with pork and mushrooms (pictured here) and with a side of steamed jasmine rice.
The best part? Xe Lua's prices are beyond reasonable, so your lunch won't break the bank.