Cut the Eggplant (2) lengthwise. In a shallow baking dish, salt each side of the eggplant heavily and let it sit out for a few hours or in the fridge overnight. This draws all the moisture out of the eggplant and allows for a crispier texture when we will cook it lat.
Thoroughly rinse the eggplant, and return to the baking dish, adding a thin layer of Oil (to taste), and the Sichuan Peppercorns (1/4 cup) . Set that aside.
Place the Dried Shiitake Mushroom (10) in a bowl and cover with water. Let it soak for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Once hydrated, the mushrooms will feel soft. Squeeze out the excess moisture and thinly slice into strips.
Prepare the aromatics. Halve the Lemongrass (2 stalk), peel and smash the Garlic (5 clove) with the side of your knife, and peel and thinly slice your Fresh Ginger (1).
Heat up a large stockpot on medium heat and add a thin layer of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the aromatics, slightly caramelizing them, until they are golden brown.
Add the Ground Pork (1 pound) and break up into small pieces, cook until well done. Add the Chicken Broth (8 cup) , the dried mushrooms, some Salt and Pepper (to taste) to taste, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Put your Rice Noodles (1/2 package) in a large bowl. Cover with hot water and let the noodles soak for 6 minutes. After the noodles have soaked, carefully drain the water, and portion an even amount into two large bowls.
While the noodles soaking and the soup is simmering, heat up a medium saute pan, or a grill pan if you have one. Cook the eggplant to your desired texture, and add Soy Sauce (1/2 cup) until the eggplant is caramelized.
Pour the hot broth mixture into your bowl of noodles, making sure to ladle up the garlic, mushrooms, and pork. Top with the caramelized eggplant. Enjoy!