Special food in the North of Vietnam
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Pho (Rice noodle soup):
Pho, a typical dish of Hanoi people, has been existing for a long-time. Pho is prepared not only in a sophisticated manner but also in the technique which is required to have sweet but pure bouillon, soft but not crashed noodle, soft and sweet-smelling meat.
Only in cold days, having a hot and sweet-smelling bowl of Pho to enjoy, would make you experience the complete flavor of the special dish of Hanoi
Bun thang ("Ladder" soft noodle soup):
Dishes made of soft noodle soup are diverse such as vermicelli and fried chopped meat, Bun Thang, vermicelli and sour crab soup, stewed vermicelli and boiled lean meat, etc. The popular dish is vermicelli and sour crab soup whilst Bun Thang is for con-noisseurs, unique and available in Hanoi only. A bowl of Bun Thang includes lean pork paste, thin fried egg, salted shredded shrimp, chicken, onion, shrimps paste, and a little Belostomatid essence. Especially, Bun Thang bouillon made from shrimps and meat must be very sweet and pure. Without enjoying Bun Thang when arriving to Hanoi, it somewhat seems to lack of a part of taste of Hanoi.
Mon oc (Snail dish):
Snail dish is a popular but unique dish of Hanoi people. It is easy to order some dishes like snail steamed with ginger leaf, gingered snail, snail sauted with carambola, snail boiled with lemon leaf, snail steamed with Chinese herbs, and so on, in many small restaurants, restaurants, and even hotels.
However, vermicelli and snail sour soup is the most attractive to young ladies because of brittleness by snails, the slightly sour taste by snail soup, and hot by chilly boiled down, making even gorged people keep eating
Com (Grilled green rice):
Every autumn, around September and October, when the cool north-westerly wind brings a cold dew, the sticky rice ears bend themselves into arches waiting for ripe grains because these rice grains are at their fullest and the rice-milk is already concentrated in the grains, predicting that the com season has arrived.
Better than any other person, the peasant knows when the rice ears are ripe enough to be reaped to begin making com. Com is made from green sticky rice that is harvested in blossom period, roasted in many times, crashed and sieved.
Com is a specialty; at the same time, it is very popular. One can enjoy com with tieu ripe banana. When eating com, you must eat slowly and chew very deliberately in order to appreciate all the scents, tastes, and plasticity of the young rice.
Com is an ingredient also used in many specialties of Vietnam, including com xao (browned com), banh com (com cakes), che com (sweetened com soups), etc.
Com may be obtained anywhere in the North of Vietnam, but the tastiest com is processed in Vong Village, 5km from Hanoi, where com making has been a professional skill for many generations.
Nem ran (Spring roll):
Nem ran (called cha gio in the south) is a much-appreciated specialty, although it is very easy to prepare. Since long ago, nem ran has been a familiar dish on the menu at all households during the New Year’s festivities, at family parties, and at receptions.
The stuffing of the nem ran is comprised of mince pork, sea crabs, eggs, minced Jew's ears, thin-top mushroom, dried onions, bean-sprouts, pepper, spiced salt, etc. The mixture is then rolled in flat rice cakes and fried in a pan until crispy.
Nem are eaten hot with a sauce that it is, at the same time, somewhat salty, sweet, acidic and scented (with the flavors of onion and pepper). Papaya and a few fresh scented vegetables are added.
Gio lua (Silky lean meat paste):
By itself, the name “silky lean meat paste” evokes thoughts of the silky aspect of this specialty. Gio lua is made with lean pig meat, which is pounded with a pestle until it becomes a sticky paste. Fresh banana leaves are tied very tightly around the paste, and then it is well cooked. Good gio lua has a fine white color, is firm, and has a perfumed and sweetish taste.
Gio lua may be obtained anywhere in Vietnam, but the best gio lua is from Uoc Le Village (Hanoi), where the know-how for Gio lua is strictly kept so as to allow no secrets of the job to flow out from Uoc Le. Slices of Gio lua are slightly pink, moist, and sweet-smelling meat, fish sauce and banana leaf
Cha ca La Vong (La Vong grilled fish pies):
Cha ca La Vong is a unique specialty of Hanoi people, therefore one street in Hanoi was named as Cha Ca Street.
Cha ca is made from mud-fish, snake-headed fish, but the best one is Hemibagrus (Ca lang). Fish bone is left away to keep fish meat only, then seasoning, clipping by pieces of bamboo, and frying by coal heat. An oven of coal heat is needed when serving to keep Cha ca always hot. Cha ca is served with roasted peanuts, dry pancakes, soft noodle soup, spice vegetables and shrimps paste with lemon and chilly.
The Cha ca La Vong Restaurant on No.14 Cha Ca Street is the "ancestor restaurant" of the dish.
Banh cuon (Rolled rice pancake)
Banh cuon is popular to Vietnamese as disk for breakfast. The cake preparing process includes grilled rice which is steamed and oil-spread to have sweet-smelling. Banh cuon is prepared available. Leaves of cake put on plate as the customers ask for the disk. The cake is called Banh cuon Thanh Tri due to its origin is Thanh Tri Village of South Hanoi. Besides Banh cuon Thanh Tri, there is rolled rice pancake with the filling of the cake is made from minced pork mixed with Jew's ears and thin-top mushrooms. The cake, placed on plate, serve with salted shredded shring and fried dry onions. The customers immediately experience the disk as it is just finished and still very hot.
It is the sauce of the cake that fascinates the customers. The cake-makers have their own know-how, some of them prepare Banh cuon with Belostomatid essence to have sweet -smelling to attract to the customers.
Lon quay Lang Son (Lang Son roasted pork):
Anyone who arrives in Lang Son Province could find it difficult to say no to Lon quay dish. Lon quay Lang Son is delicious for many reasons, however, the main specific taste of the dish comes from the unique flavor of a kind of leaf called "Mac mat" (meaning "sweet leaf"). The leaf is soaked with spices, fish sauce, glutamate, flavoring powder, then stuffed into clean pig belly and placed on reverted furnace. Pig is fried the spread with watery honey so as to make the skin turn golden and brittle, and pork is soft and sweet-smelling as finish.
Banh tom Ho Tay (Ho Tay fried shirmp cake):
All people who used to live in Hanoi are familiar with Banh tom Ho Tay Restaurant on the Thanh Nien (Young) Street. The cake preparing process includes wheat flour mixed with potato fibres, placing on shape with shrimps upper, then fried with oil. The cake is brittle, soft, sweet-smelling, and served with vegetable pickles and sweet and sour fish sauce for best taste.