Special food in Vietnam

 

 
   

 

   

 

 

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.

Nem ran (Spring roll)
Nem ran (called cha gio in the south) is a much-appreciated speciality, 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 stuffi
ng 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 flavours 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 speciality. 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 colour, 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.

   

 

   
 

 

Tet Food

 

 
   

 

   

 

Banh Chung and banh Tet (Boiled rice and pork cakes)
Boiled rice and pork cakesare usually cooked 2-3 days before Tet. Both can be kept for about two weeks in cool temperature. However, after this time they become hard and must be re-boiled.
Soak some green beans overnight in water to soften. Drain, rub and clean to remove the skin, and leave to dry. Next, cook the beans in a steamer and grind. Form into balls the size of tennis balls.
Soak some glutinous rice overnight. Clean and rinse. Mix with a little salt. Cut fresh pork meat (lean or fat, according to personal taste) into 2cm strips. Mix with salt, fish sauce and pepper, and leave for about one hour.
Clean dong leaves (leaves from arrowroot) and place them over each other to
for m a cross. Place an amount of rice in the centre of the leaves. Shape into a square (the southern version is in a circle). Press a "ball" of green bean on top. Then, add 1-2 pieces of marinated pork, then more green bean, and finally rice. Press firmly into a compact square and wrap the leaves over to cover the cake completely. Tie with bamboo strings. Place in a large pot of boiling water and boil overnight. Squeeze the moisture out by placing it in a colander with a heavy object on top.
To serve, untie and open the leaves. Invert on a plate and cut into pieces using the bamboo strings, not a knife. Serve cold.

Canh mang (Dried bamboo shoot soup)
Soak dried bamboo shoots in water for 2-3 days to soften. Boil 2-3 times if necessary. Cut into 5cm strips. Fry with pig trotters and salt. Add water, bring to boil and simmer until meat is tender. Garnish with green onion.

Bong (Dried pig skin)
Soak dried pig skin (the skin should be yellow, which means it has been pre-treated) in water for one hour. Drain and then add a cup of rice whisky and fresh ginger. Rub onto the skin (this will remove the smell). Cut into diamond-shaped pieces.
To make fresh chicken stock, add dried shrimps and dried huong(perfume) mushrooms, which have been pre-soaked in warm water, to 2-3 chicken carcasses. Bring to boil and simmer. Remove the dried mushrooms. Cut carrot and kohlrabi into decorative shapes (flowers, leaves etc). Boil the dried pork skin in the chicken stock for several minutes until tender. Add French/ string beans. To serve, mix all drained ingredients (place vegetables on top) and garnish with coriander.

Hanh muoi (Pickled onions)
You should make this dish about two weeks before Tet. Clean onions. Dissolve some salt and sugar in warm water. Add onions, cover and keep in a clean, dry place for two weeks.

Mien (Vermicelli noodles)
Cut mien into lengths and pre-soak for 10-15 minutes in water. Boil chicken innards (liver, heart, etc), salt and green onions in a fresh chicken stock. Mix with mien and serve.

Moc (Pork soup)
Buy raw minced pork. Add dried mushrooms, which have been soaked to be softened. Mound pork on the mushrooms and boil in chicken stock.

Ga ran or luoc (Fried or boiled chicken)
Fried version: marinate raw chicken in salt, sugar, garlic, fish sauce and burnt sugar. Fry chicken and marinade in oil.
Boiled version: served with julienne lemon grass.

Ca chep kho rieng (Carp with galangal)
Scale carp, cut into steaks and fry. Add finely sliced galangal, fish sauce, salt, burnt sugar and water (this makes the fish turn dark brown). Cook over a low heat until the fish is hard and little liquid remains.

Bo kho que (Beef with cinnamon)
Tie up beef muscle firmly with several strips of bamboo. Break cinnamon into small pieces, rub into beef. Sea
r.
Add fish sauce and salt, and cook over a low heat. Only cut beef when about to serve. The meat
 should be firm but not tough.
Xoi gac (Steamed momordica glutinous rice)
Soak glutinous rice in water overnight. Drain. Cut open the momordica (qua gac). Remove flesh and large black/red seeds. Mix this with a small cup of rice alcohol. Mix rice with salt and qua gac mixture.
Steam in a rice steamer. During steaming, add some chicken fat and stir through. When steamed, add a little sugar and stir through with chopsticks. Mound onto a plate and decorate with the black seeds from the fruit.
Che kho (Soft green bean cake)
Soak green beans in water overnight to soften. Rub and remove skin. Drain. Cook in boiling water until soft. Drain and grind into a wet powder. Mix with sugar in a pan over a medium heat. Keep stirring until a little drier and smoother. Place in a mound and invert onto a plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. To serve, cut into slices like a cake.

Mut (Preserved fruit)
Prepare a week before Tet. The most important thing is to maintain the shape of the fruit. Use apple, potato, tomato, plum, ginger, mandarin, or gourd.
Apple: Pierce skin lengthwise, but don’t cut too deep. Place in a bowl of cold water and lime. Soak overnight. Wash carefully and dry. Cover in red sugar. Stir very carefully in a dry pan over low heat until sugar melts and solidifies. Take off heat. Press down carefully on top of apple to make into shape evocative of a seashell.
If using a kumquat, a traditional Tet fruit, use white sugar to keep the natural orange colour of the fruit. You must also keep the stalk in to keep the shape. You must also carefully press juice out after piercing skin.

Last, but not least
After indulging in all the above, remember that you cannot throw out any leftovers until the fourth day of Tet. It would also be highly inauspicious to sweep the rubbish from the house as all the good luck you have been working hard at will disappear with it.
 

 

   

 

   
 

 

Special food in the North

 

 
   

 

   

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 speciality; 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 specialities 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.

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 stilI 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.