Like other Chinatown minimarts, an odd assortment of goods lines the shelves of the shop: Anything from women’s undergarments to Vietnamese sausage to bean sprouts can be found at Ding Ho. At first glance, the fresh rice noodles — not the packaged fresh rice noodles — are nowhere to be found. On a moveable cart hidden behind the counter, however, stacks of freshly made, glistening-white, folded sheets lay covered with plastic wrap. When the woman behind the counter asks “how much?” she wants a dollar amount not a weight. For rolls, one dollar’s worth will easily feed two people. These noodles, when rolled with grilled shrimp, mint, cilantro, Thai basil, lettuce and pickled carrots and daikon and served with nuoc cham (the Vietnamese dipping sauce made with lime juice, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and chili sauce), make a delicious dinner. To sample this delicacy, ask the woman for a small ($1) or large ($2) serving of the noodles steaming inside the large rice cooker-like vessel sitting on the counter. The warm noodles get sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and a sauce — a secret sauce — the recipe for which the woman will never disclose. She has admitted that four sauces comprise her creation, and some of these ingredients include peanut sauce, hoisin, and rice vinegar. I would guess that somewhere in that mix is a dash or two of fish sauce.
Chinatown’s Best Kept Secret [Uwishunu]