In 2008, Le Minh Canh, 35, from Cam Thanh commune, Hoi An city, in Quang Nam province was a soldier in the army, serving in the logistics team.
“The time I was in the kitchen in the army helped me hone my cooking skills to please the masses. I always tried to find new meals my teammates can enjoy. When comrades ate well, work was also fun…”, Canh recalled.
After 14 years serving in the army, he decided to return to his hometown to pursue his dream.
Returning to his hometown, he became a tour guide, leading guests to tours in the coconut forest. His main goal began to rekindle - researching and learning to create his own special noodle dish.
"In late 2022, I tinkered with a bowl of Quang noodles to find its unique taste. At first, it was difficult because Quang noodles were like the soul of Quang Nam, so processing and innovating it really reached a dead end.
Sitting for a while, I suddenly remembered the pottery village, and I wondered why I didn't make Quang noodles in a clay pot,” Canh said.
Visiting the nearby ancient pottery village of Thanh Ha, he bought a pot to experiment with, but the pottery could not be used because water leaked out.
Not giving up, he continued to ask the seniors in the village. Based on the advice of many people, he coated the terracotta pots with oil, and carried out the "tricks" of the artisans, making the product impermeable.
“The clay pot has something special; the more time it is used to cook, the better the taste. The broth is composed of meat, eggs and shrimp, creating a unique flavor made by the people themselves, "said Canh.
With the biggest difficulty resolved, the young man took his backpack and went to find the right noodles.
It is said that the land of Phu Chiem (Dien Phuong commune, Dien Ban town, Quang Nam province) has sold noodles since the early 20th century.
These noodles are famous in the province; it is from Xic rice - a type of rice only grown in low-lying fields all year round with alluvium from the Thu Bon River in Dien Ban.
Noodle sheets are coated by hand, then cut into strings to create softness and flexibility. “Everything was almost done; I continued to look for other additives to make the noodle bowl. For a bowl of noodles that is really delicious, rich and full of cultural identity, I went to the famous Tra Que vegetable village in the region. Vegetables there are famous and water is from ancient wells, the main source of water for many people's favorite products," Canh said.
Thanks to these specialties, plus the hands of the "chef" in the military, Canh created a unique bowl of Quang noodles liked by many tourists.
From compliments and suggestions, his "brand" of clay-pot Quang noodles has started to become known. Canh said this is motivation to bring this dish to tourists nationwide.
"Many tourists who like clay-pot mi Quang (Quang noodles) have taken flights from Ho Chi Minh City to enjoy it. Some days, many tourists who had just arrived at the Da Nang Airport at 8pm called me to order this dish. Although the restaurant was closed at that time, as the tourists were so excited, I was happy to be in the kitchen," said Canh.