29 August, 2018 Phuong Nguyen
Are you a real foodies? Have you heard about the delicious cuisine of Viet Nam? If yes, do you know how to eat all the way in Viet Nam out as a local? Interested to check out the must try list of 5 Viet Nam dishes which have nominated by most of the Western visitors?
Hi, I’m K, who had just returned from the Viet Nam tour recently. Since one of the major hobbies in my life is pursuit new foods and enjoy them all, you might call me a food addict. And as a big lover of foods, who recently visited Vietnam, I felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility to deliver to you, my folks, who have been suffered of looking for new dishes by years, the eastern culinary culture, practically the best things that I had eaten and where you can find it in Viet Nam.
My food excursion had twined from South to North, from Ho Chi Minh to Ha Noi, but the highlight is mostly in Hoi An. It was in this ancient, beautiful, and unassuming settlement where I uncovered some of the most delicious food I have ever eaten anywhere in the world. However, don’t worry that I would lost in this city for so long that forgot what is this list is about, because it still combine the essences of Viet Nam cuisine whether most of them is Hoi An’s.
1. Cao lau, Hoi An
Recognize as Hoi An’s specialty, Cao Lau would definitely the dish that you won’t want to miss if you have the chance to go through this land. More specifically, Hoi An central market is the place that you could get the best dish of Cao lau. With thin slices of pork, noodles, and greens all combined in a bowl before a ladle of pork gravy is tenderly spooned over the top. They also throw a handful of flat, fat, fried noodles (or lard) on the dish, which gives the thing some crunch, something for you to enjoy in any bite have made.
I tried to look up for the information of Cao lau origin on the internet, but it all got a bit confusing so I gave up. Some people think it came from Japan, others think China. Apparently, the water used to cook the noodles comes from a specific place that near to Hoi An. However, the chef has added their own flavor into the dish. To be honest, I didn’t notice whether the noodles were extra-flavor or not, but the whole thing was divine. I ate it with a beer Saigon for breakfast and it is golden.
Cao lau Hoi An
2. Spring rolls, Hanoi
Spring roll now might sound not as something new as in the past and to it’s quite boring to tell your friends that one of the thing you had eaten in Viet Nam is spring roll would be boring to hear but the ones I ate in Hanoi had me pretty excited. Head to the corner of Hang Dong and Lo Ren streets and you’ll find a place full of locals with a yellow awning.
Just go in, sit down, order a 9,000 VND (50 cents) fresh beer from the shop along the street, and get a plate of spring rolls. A dish of spring rolls will have about 20 of the deep-fried, pork-filled morsels and a veritable rainforest of Vietnamese mint, basil, and at last, some lettuces for you to wrap them in. You should ask the owner how much they are before you order though. However I’ve a feeling the proprietor stooged me somewhat on the bill but I’m willing to forgive him cause of his spring rolls were sensational.
Hanoi' spring roll
3. Banh xeo, Hanoi/south Vietnam
Banh xeo took me just the first bite to decide to put it on my favorite dishes list. It’s essentially a rice-flour pancake filled with pork, prawn, and beansprouts. It’s served up alongside a whole bunch of Vietnamese mint and basil like the aforementioned spring rolls, followed with some rice paper. All you have to do is tear a chunk off, chuck it in the rice paper, load it with foliage, wrap it up, and submerge it in the secret dipping sauce. I heard that they make it with a family’s recipe. Honestly, it’s delicious. And at least I think it is healthy.
As a typically southern dish (you’ll find them in Ho An in abundance) so you will feel it a bit tricky to find Banh xeo up north. We found the best stall that sells it on the corner of Ma May and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets in Ha Noi’s old quarter. The chef is an old man who had smile all the time said he used to make banh xeo back in Ho Chi Minh. But sometimes we found them, sometimes not. You might have to bet your luck to receive a quality dish right?
Banh xeo Ha Noi
4. Egg coffee, Hanoi
If you interested in foods then egg coffee is something not so specially to talk about as a specialty, but the one I had in Ha Noi was amazing. The egg coffee here is made with egg yolk, condensed milk and, of course, coffee. You might here it gross but don’t worry, it is not instead. The tastes in your tongue right after the first bite was so soft that you will think of it as a liquid, espresso-flavored meringue (I suppose because that’s basically what it is), and is a pretty good way to satisfies your hunger to be ready for a day trip around Ha Noi. You can head to Café Giang for a VICE-approved cup, but there are countless outlets serving up this stuff around town. I had tried them in three different spots and they all tasted pretty similar, which is quite disappointing. If you think so as well, get out there and find you something else more worthy.
Egg coffee Ha Noi
5. Pho, Hoi An
Of course, the symbol of Viet Nam cuisine, Pho. But out of all, after I tried a bunch of pho in Viet Nam, although it all good in its way. But to conclude which one is the best, the bowl of Pho which I ate in Hoi An central market was the best one. There are a couple dozen identical-looking stalls in the market, but if you pay close attention, which has a tiny photograph of Anthony Bourdain is the one that you are looking for.
At last, there is one thing I have to tell you. That this particular bowl of pho may be the best creature that you’ve ever seen, or taste. It was complete the whole new level of Pho, represent for all the Pho that I’ve ever taste before. It was peppery, rich, and there were peanuts and pickled shallots. Man, I have to say: “What a treat!”. I’d like to tell you exactly what stall in the market it was but I think it’ll be more fun if you come there and try to find it yourself.