Taking a trip around Vietnam, me and my husband decided to have an adventure this time. We flew in from Hanoi going down to Danang via the Vietnam railways halting at Hoi Ann and down to Ho Chi Minh taking the train again. Since this was our first time, we decided that taking the train and travelling as the locals do would give us plenty of opportunity to get the feel of the country, its natural beauty and its people. The journey was long, tiring especially since a bridge on the way to Ho Chi Minh had collapsed and we had to transfer via bus as well. But all in all we had an adventurous journey, one we will remember for a long time.
But what i really want to share here is the hidden cuisines of Vietnam or rather of Hanoi since we did most of our eating at Hanoi where we had a lovely couple host us and take us around explaining about the food and taking us to local eateries to taste delicious dishes.
Hanoi is one place where you will find plenty of clean crisp and delicious food. Whatever we had, we were really amazed by it’s clean and crisp feeling, the well blended taste and how simple yet how delicious everything was and how everything was served with a large amount of fresh herbs. We loved the food there and since all we knew before our travel was Pho, I have here put a list of some of the dishes we had at Hanoi to help anyone wanting to explore food from northern Vietnam, the food heaven.
Everyday knows Pho :-). The popular noodle soup, Pho actually indicates the rice noodle which is usually served with either beef chunks (Bo) or Chicken (Ga). The soup at Hanoi is more clearer and not as sweet as the southern version. It contains lots of bean sprouts, herbs and is served with lemon wedges which you can squeeze into the soup. It has a lovely clean taste as well as being very satisfying.
This is my favourite, a dish from northern Vietnam. So soft and delicate, minced pork and mushroom are packed inside a thin sheet of silky steamed rice paste and served with deep fried shallots and fresh herbs. They must be dipped in fish sauce before you eat it. Absolutely silky soft and so tasty, that i could probably have eaten it forever.
Bun Ca is a fried fish and rice noodle soup. The name is quite literal as Bun means the rice noodle and Ca is for fish. What i love about this dish is the broth that has a tangy taste with a whole lot of tomatoes in it. It is made with tomatoes and fresh dill and topped with crispy fried river fish. It is just as satisfying as it is tasty. (There is another dish called Bun Cha which is totally different and can be confusing.)
Cha ca Ha Noi
Cha Ca is a famous dish in Hanoi. We were told that people generally used to eat it as a treat in the past. White fish marinated with tumeric is grilled and fried with lots and lots of dill and spring onion on the table side and served with crunchy peanuts, herbs and soothing sauce. It is eaten with rice noodles. The turmeric and dill makes the fish really flavourful and when eaten with sides of peanuts, cooling sauce and vermicelli rice noodles, it makes for a perfect blend of taste.
This Vietnamese twist to the french baguette can be found everywhere in the streets. The crusty bread is filled with pork belly, fish cakes, pickled carrots, chillies and makes for a perfect snack to grab while roaming the streets of old quarter at Hanoi.
This is a popular eat and can be found in the streets around the old quarter. So popular that there are restaurants that only serve sticky rice. We had one and loved it. It is served with bean paste, corn and fried shallots but you can ask for toppings such as eggs, ham, sausages etc.
Finally, the wonderful wonderful egg coffee is more of a dessert. This strange yet wonderful drink is a speciality of Hanoi. Creamy and fluffy on top with black coffee at the bottom, it’s a perfect combination of a sweet dessert with the kick of coffee. Egg yolk is blended with condensed milk until creamy and poured over black coffee to serve.