It’s morning at Y’i Shen Market and the restaurant’s kitchen is waking up.
Chicken and beef broths — made daily — bubble in vast pots on the back of the stove, wafting the aroma of star anise, garlic and onions. A peek inside a standing roaster reveals glistening duck, barbeque pork butts, shoulder and belly, destined for the day’s rice dishes.
A 15-inch wok and its 25-inch cousin stand at attention. And, along the prep line, chopped lime, green onions, bean sprouts and jalapeños burst with color, ready to add comfort and complexity to every steaming bowl of Y’i Shen’s Vietnamese noodle soup, phở.
Owner Phung Tu and I are sitting at a table in the restaurant section of the cheery shop. Nearby shelves are lined with Vietnamese staples: chili sauce, curry paste, rice vinegar, coconut milk and dried noodles.