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Vietnamese Food

- 1kg kudzu powder, refined

- 800g refined sugar

- 200g coconut flesh, scraped in thin threads 

- 300g green beans 

- 50 coconut leaves 

- 15 pineapple leaves 

To prepare:

Filling

Cut green beans in halves, soak in warm water for five hours. Strain and remove skin of green beans. Rinse.

Steam green beans and grind into a paste.

Mix green bean paste with 200g sugar, then cook over a low flame and stir until the mixture loses its sticky texture.

Spread the mixture 3cm thick on a large tray, cool and cut into 6x6cm square pieces.

Cover

Wash and clean pineapple leaves and cut into 60cm strips so that only the middle remains.

Arrange the coconut leaves into a square or hexagonal shape to form a box roughly 25x30cm wide and place a pineapple leaf on top.

Dissolve the kudzu powder and remaining sugar in water. Use two and a half times as much water to the amount of powder.

Cook over a low flame, stirring until the mixture becomes a paste. Extinguish flame, add threads of coconut flesh and mix well.

Fill the coconut leaf boxes with the coconut flesh mixture and place the green bean filling in the centre.

Put the boxes in the steamer and cook for 20 minutes, until the cake becomes clear. 

“Banh phu the”  is a lot more interesting in texture and flavor. In the real one, the cake has it green color and flavor by being steamed inside its box...

“Banh it” - sticky rice cake

It is true that “Banh it” is a must try specialty of the Central Region in Vietnam!

Commonly, there are two kinds of “Banh it”. The first one is “Banh it la gai”, which is sticky rice cake with coconut or green bean stuffing wrapped in pinnate leaf. The second one is “Banh it tom thit” - glutinous rice cake with meat and shrimp, its name means “little meat shrimp cakes”, the stuffing is made of ground pork and shrimp mixed with spring onion and other spices.

 

A popular saying goes: "If you wish to eat banh it la gai, get married to a Binh Dinh man to increase your life experience". It shows how essential “Banh it la gai” is to the people in the central region. Originating in Binh Dinh Province on the central coast, “Banh it la gai” has become a veritable specialty of that region of Vietnam.

"Banh it la gai" is made from five ingredients - sticky rice, "la gai" (a type of thorn leaf popular in the central region), sugar, green beans (or black beans) and a banana leaf. The “la gai” is boiled and then ground in a stone mortar until its green colour turns black. The sticky rice is ground into flour. The sugar is dissolved in water and then boiled down to make syrup. Then the three ingredients are mixed together to make the dough. Meanwhile, the green beans are soaked in water for hours and then whipped before steaming. After that the well-done beans are ground and rolled into balls used as fillings for the dough.

The dumpling can also be made with sweetened ground coconut instead of beans. Either way the banana leaves are usually put quickly on the fire or dipped in hot water to make them soft so that it is easier to wrap the cake with them. The little packages usually are shaped like pyramids with square bottoms. Then people arrange the packets into a pot for steaming.

Visiting Binh Dinh, tourists can discover how “Banh it” often stands right in the centre of locals' lives. In death anniversaries, it is acceptable for there to be no fish or meat, but there must be “Banh it la gai”. In marriage rituals, a tray of “Banh it la gai” is the gift of the bride’s family to that of the groom to show the skillfulness of the bride who has made the Banh it together with other villagers.

In the former imperial capital of Hue in Thua Thien-Hue Province, tourists can also find “Banh it la gai” and another type of “Banh it” called “Banh it tom thit”. The cake is a little ball of sticky rice flour stuffed with shrimp and pork. The tasty morsel is served plain or wrapped in banana leaves and is one of the indispensable dishes in the death anniversaries of a Hue family.

“Banh it” is also popular in the historic town of Hoi An in Quang Nam Province. There tourists can find “Banh it” not only at family parties, wedding ceremonies and death anniversaries but also at restaurants. Hoi An has two types of “Banh it”: one with green bean filling and wrapped in banana leaves called “Banh it la gai nhan dau xanh” and the other also filled with green beans but served plain called “Banh it la gai tran”. Unlike common “Banh it la gai”, “Banh it tran” usually is pink and smells like la dua (a type of leaf that smells when it is steamed). A famous “Banh it la gai”-making family lives on Nhi Trung Street in Hoi An. Stopping by their ancient house, tourists can learn all the stages of making “Banh it”. They can see how people prepare “la gai”, whip beans, grind sticky rice and form the dumplings. Above all, they can enjoy “Banh it” right after it is steamed.

Once visting the central region of Vietnam, you should not miss a chance to enjoy the so delicious taste of “Banh it”...

“Ô mai” – a dilicious nosh!

 “Ô mai” is salted dry apricot or sugared dry apricot that is a favourite nosh for many people in Hanoi and other provinces.

 “Ô mai” is produced for traditional method, since chosing material, the company also send staff to gardens in Hung Yen, Hai Hung, Hoa Binh, Lai Chau in order to gather all crop of kinds of sour fresh fruit like plum, apricot, dracontomelum, star, tamarind, kumquat, pineaple, canari, lemon. That is the secret of Hang Duong experts, they plus sugar, ginger, add chilli, stir liquorice to have smooth yellow food with sweet-smelling.

This product is for instant all year and you can enjoy with a pot of tea and a few friends to chat. This is also valuable present from Ha Noi people giving to their friends.

How to make dried apricot?

If you would like to make dried apricot, you can use the following recipe and you can make the perfect nosh. First, you soak the apricots in water to cover overnight. Then, place them to cook in the same water. Cook until tender. Mash them or chop in blender. After that, peel, core, and cut the pineapple into small pieces. Cover with water and cook until tender. Measure the fruits and juices. Last, place equal amounts of sugar with the measured fruits into a heavy kettle and cook slowly until thick and clear.

A unique “banh xeo” in Vietnam

 “Banh xeo” is Vietnamese style crepe with whole shrimp, thinly sliced pork and bean sprouts.

Like the salad roll, the “banh xeo” is a do-it-yourself dish that involves the messy but delicious process of wrapping the crepe in lettuce with cilantro and basil. Though the filling might fall out on your table, you will be completely lost in the crispy, warm combination of lettuce and crepe, and the attentive staff will happily clean up after you.

Different styles of “banh xeo”

“Banh xeo” is prepared differently throughout the country. Tourists traveling about in Vietnam are sure to encounter a different recipe, and sometimes even a different name, for “banh xeo” depending on which region and province they are visiting.

These are a pale yellow spicey Vietnamese style crepe. One piece on the bottom, and another on top encase what is usually a salad consisting of been sprouts, prawns, boiled pork, taro and carrot. Drenched in fish sauce, and you have a deliciously messy slice of fine pleasure. The dish is round, and you cut it into slices, like a pizza, so it resembles a triangle on the main platter, but usually by the time it arrives on your plate, it could resemble anything really.

In the Southern region, the “banh xeo” is the size of a large dish and yellow in color due to the employment of turmeric powder. The Southern people always add coconut milk to the rice flour to make the crepe extra delicious. The crepe is stuffed with bean sprouts, mung beans, shrimp and pork. A sweet and sour fish sauce and fresh vegetables are used as accompaniments.

In the Central region, “banh xeo” cooks make a smaller crepe that is white in color. In Hue, the crepes are called “banh khoai”, which is similar to “banh xeo”, but smaller in size and stuffed with fennel, sour star fruit, green banana and a thick soy sauce.

In addition to selling the crepes to patrons, vendors also prepare them en masse for birthday parties and festivals. Northern preparations of “banh xeo” are similar to the ones down south, but include special fillings like slices of Indian taro and manioc. In some regions, “banh xeo” is prepared thick, but Southern crepes are characteristically thin, crispy and served fresh out of the frying pan. The secret to extra-thin crepes is a deep frying pan and a quick wrist to coat the frying pan with the batter before it starts to set.

Where to enjoy “banh xeo”?

In Hanoi, there are a lot of addresses for you to enjoy “banh xeo”, such as 22 Hang Bo Street, “Quan Ngon” restaurant at 12 Phan Boi Chau Street or “Chin Tham” restaurant on Thai Ha Street.

In HCMC, southern-style “banh xeo” can be found at Banh Xeo 46A on Dinh Cong Trang Street, District 1 or An la ghien Restaurant at 54A Nguyen Van Troi Street, Ward 15, Phu Nhuan District. Those seeking a meatless version of “banh xeo” can find them at vegetarian restaurants on An Lac Restaurant, 175/15 Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, and Thien Nguyen Restaurant, 174 Calmete street, District 1.

“Cốm” - Autumn’s special gift

"Cốm" (green sticky rice) is a delicacy that is made only in autumn and cherished by all Vietnamese. For Hanoians, nothing evokes autumn like the taste of young rice from Vong village, the grain so sweetly scented that they left a lasting impression...

Served with red persimmons or ripe bananas, "Cốm" is truly delicious. Vong village, on the outskirts of Hanoi, is said to produce the best "Cốm" in northern Vietnam. When autumn comes, Hanoians everywhere always remember the special taste of "Cốm" which is a special gift from the soil made by hard-working peasants, holding a simple and fresh fragrance.

Every autumn, 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, and the local farmers will know it is time to make “Cốm” – a specialty made from young green sticky rice.

"Cốm" is often eaten by hand, directly from the lotus leaves, a pinch at a time. When eating “Cốm”, you must enjoy slowly and chew very deliberately in order to appreciate all the scents, tastes, and plasticity of the young rice which is sweet, nutty and buttery.
Visitors to Hanoi during the "Cốm" making season are invited to go to Vong Village where they will have a chance to listen to the special rhythmic pounding of wooden pestles against mortars filled with young rice and see women shifting and winnowing the pounded young rice.

In Vong village, making “Cốm” used to be a common trade. People from Vong village are said to have the most complicated process for making "Cốm". Firstly, glutinous paddy is planted. To produce their famous "Cốm", residents of Vong village grow a special variety of sticky rice. The sticky rice must be harvested at just the right moment. When the paddy begins to ripen and still contains milk it is reaped but only at early dawn. The rice is plucked off manually so that the grains are not broken. Next, the choice grains are carefully selected, sifted and washed. At night, the grains are dried in a large pan

over a soft fire and then pounded in stone mortars. Following this, the young rice is removed from the mortar and winnowed before being poured again into the mortar and the process repeated. This is then repeated exactly seven times so that all the husk is removed from the young sticky grains. There is an art to this part of the process. If the pounding is done irregularly and in haste, or it is not repeated seven times, the green colour of the grains will disappear and be replaced by an unexpected brown colour. Then the whole process will have been to no avail because customers will refuse to buy such produce. This should go some way to explaining exactly how difficult the whole process of "Cốm" making is.

“Not every one can dry and pound "Cốm". It is a closely guarded secret in some families that is never revealed to the mothers or daughters!” says 72-year-old Pham Thi Nguyet, whose family still produces “Cốm”. After the “Cốm” has been pounded, the crystal spring rice is wrapped tightly in emerald lotus leaves to keep it from drying and allowing it to absorb lotus flavour.

...to other specialities

Better than any other person, peasants are the only ones who truly understand when the rice ears are ripe enough to be reaped to begin making “Cốm”. From then on, “Cốm” is still available, however, as it is used in different local specialties.

“Cốm” is an ingredient used in many specialities of Vietnam, including “Cốm xào” (browned green sticky rice), “Bánh cốm”  (green sticky rice cake) and “Chè cốm” (sweetened green sticky rice paste) and so on.

“Bánh cốm” is the well-known as it is found at every engagement ceremony. The cakes are wrapped with bananas leaves into squares, tied with a red string and stamped on the outside with a Chinese character meaning "double happiness". With these characteristics, “Bánh cốm” is believed to be a symbol of steadfast and eternal love.

Green sticky rice cakes are sold on Hang Than Street. Sticky cakes stuffed with green rice are sold on Hang Dieu Street and Quoc Huong green rice paste is sold on Hang Bong Street. Restaurants also offer dishes involving “Cốm”, such as chicken stewed with herbs and green rice, or green rice served with fried shrimp.

Nowadays, thanks to convenient means of transport, many Hanoians send Vong Village’s  "Cm" to their relatives in other parts of the country, and even abroad, as a special gift. By this way, the delicious taste of "Cm" always stays in the hearts of Hanoians wherever they live. To those who have ever been involved in farming, eating "Cm" often reminds them of a fresh and fragrant paddy.

“Banh khuc”, so delicious!

Banh khuc is a traditional cake of Vietnam and so delicious!

 The cake is a rice ball made of glutinous rice mixed with cudweed (khuc)-most important ingredient and filled with green bean paste, pork, and spices.

Cudweed grows during lunar January and February, when the drizzling rain lasts all day, and it can be found along the edges of rice fields. There are two kinds: “nep” and “te”. The latter is more flexible and fragrant and is preferred for making the cake.

First, the cudweed is washed, ground and then mixed with husked glutinous rice. Green beans, that are flayed and turned into paste after being cooked, are then added to the mixture. Finally, the cakes are sprinkled with grains of glutinous steamed rice.

As time goes by it is increasingly difficult to find cudweed as fields are eaten up by development. For now, you still can find “banh khuc” in Hanoi. However, some bakers may not be using cudweed and may substitute it with cabbage or water morning glory.

Wishing to have the chance to satisfy your hunger for “banh khuc”, you can visit cake stall at 69 Nguyen Cong Tru Street, that has been churning out “banh khuc” for years. Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan, the seller, has to hire locals in rural areas in Hanoi or in neighbouring provinces to seek out the elusive cudweed. In winter, it grows in abundance so enough has to be collected to last the summer. The surplus will be dried and stored.

If you are in the old quarter of Hanoi, you might hear someone cry “Ai banh khuc nong day?” (who wants hot “banh khuc”?). You can stop them and ask if the “banh khuc” is from Ngoai Hoang village in Ha Noi, a place that is famous for having the most delicious and tasty “banh khuc”. Then, you can buy one for tasting. The cake should be served hot and dipped into a mixture of roasted and crushed sesame seeds and salt...

“Mứt Tết”, very delicious preserved fruit!

In Vietnamese New Year party, beside traditional dishes, no family can forget to make a tray of "Mứt Tết”, a cup of tea, betel and areca ready to entertain their visitors.

“Mứt Tết” refers to fruits or vegetables that have been prepared and canned for long term storage. The preparation of preserved fruit traditionally involves the use of pectin as a gelling agent, although sugar or honey may be used as well. There are various types of fruit preserves made in Vietnam, and they can be made from sweet or savory ingredients.

“Mứt” is made from all sorts of fruit, including mandarin oranges, apples, banana, coconuts, persimmons and breadfruit. Vegetables like patatoes, carrots and squash are also turned into “Mứt”, as certain types of blossoms.

The most famous variety of “Mứt” is made from rose petals or peach blossoms. The raw materials are cleaned and peeled, then soaked in sugar and cooked until dry. Other types of “Mứt” have the sticky consistency of jam. Some varieties, like “cu lac” (peanut jam) are covered with a thick layer of sugar, but most have thin layer of sugar.

The colors are often quite intense and people serve different types of “Mứt” together, arranged in a colorful display.

In Hanoi, Hang Dieu or Hang Duong Streets in Old Quarter are famous for shops that sell “Mứt”. Preserved fruits are masterpieces in these shops. They make all kinds of preserved fruit such as ginger, waxy pumpkin, apple, orange, lemon and carrot in various shapes and colours.

To welcome Tet is to welcome the spring. However, in January, which is spring time, the weather in Vietnam is still cold. It is a good idea to warm up with a cup of hot tea and a slice of preserved ginger with golden yellow colour and a special flavour...

"Nem chua" - Vietnamese fermented pork roll

Usually served as a snack with raw garlic, Nem chua is eaten all year round as an appetizer or a side. It is eaten especially for the Lunar New Year by many Vietnamese families.

Nem chua is a meat roll with a sweet, sour, salty and spicy taste which makes the mouth salivate with each bite. Nem chua possesses the local character of each region of Vietnam, due to the differing ingredients and sauces used. Most versions of Nem chua can be distinguished by their name, which is usually named after the area it originated from, such as nem Thanh Hoa, nem Dong Ba in the ancient royal capital of Hue, and nem Ninh Hoa in Khanh Hoa Province, nem Yen Mac in Ninh Binh Province, etc.

Traditionally, to make Nem chua, the main ingredient is pork thigh. Nem chua is made from minced pork, sliced pigskin and a mixture of seasoning and garlic. These contents are mixed thoroughly before being wrapped with aromatic, fresh leaves (usually in banana leaves) into small, boxy rolls before being stored for natural fermentation process for three to five days in a cool place before eating.

In the Lai Vung District of the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, the locals take pride in their Nem chua recipe, which has been passed down through many generations. Called “nem Lai Vung” after the district, it became more widely known in 1975 when a local woman, Tu Man, made Nem chua for visitors. She used pork, but she also used

pig liver, and then ground them into a mixture with rice, shrimp meat and seasonings. The characteristics of nem Lai Vung and other specialty foods from Lai Vung District are so distinctive and recognizable that they have been registered under a domestic brand name. Tourists to Dong Thap Province can take part in nem Lai Vung cooking classes to learn more about this regional specialty.

The northern areas also create their own favorite varieties of Nem chua. The famous one is Nem Yen Mac, which has been made for a long time in Ninh Binh Province. The number of locals in Yen Mac who can make this kind of Nem chua is small because the work requires not only secret formula but also passion for the work. Nem Yen Mac is eaten with guava leaves, fig leaves and aroma vegetables dotted into nuoc mam (fish sauce) which is mixed with mingled with garlic, lemon juice, pepper and chilli.

While many people prefer the more traditional method of preparation for Nem chua, others enjoy a grilled and unfermented variety of Nem chua. Both traditional and grilled Nem chua are usually served with uncooked sliced garlic and nuoc mam (fish sauce). Whereas nuoc mam adds saltiness and spiciness, some prefer to use chili sauce instead.

Nem chua is best known to the expatriate community and international tourists who have taken an interest in Vietnamese cuisine in recent years...

Cha ca La Vong (grilled minced fish)

Hanoi now has several stores selling Cha ca La Vong, but none of them can be equal to the Cha Ca Road’s in terms of quality and flavor. As a popular dish, La Vong grilled fish pie is indeed a remarkable culinary invention.

 The long history…

In ancient days, there was a street selling paints, called the Paints Street. The Doan family, located at house No, 14 of this street, hit upon a new idea that sold fried fish pie served with soft noodles and seasoning. Encouraged by the appreciation of customers, the family specialized in this trade and the shop was called as "Cha ca La Vong store" as a wooden statue of an old fisherman (La Vong) holding a fishing rod and a string of fish stands at the door. As the specialty grew famous with every passing day, the street was renamed by the people as Cha Ca Street (fried fish pie street).

Imagine that you are one of the guests…

While you sit down at the table, the waiter starts laying there some seasonings includes a bowl of well - stirred shrimp paste sauce mixed up with lemon. After dropping the liquor, he will decorate the bowl with a few slices of red fresh pimento, a plate of grilled ground nuts of gold yellow color, various species of mint vegetables o­nions in small white slices.

To many customers, the sight of such seasoning already greatly stimulates their appetite. A few minutes later, fried fish, yellow in color and flagrant in smell put o­n a plate of anethum vegetable, is brought in. But that is not all. A few seconds more, as soon as a cauldron of boiling fat is brought in, the waiter starts pouring it o­n each bowl of grilled fish, thus producing a white smoke and sputtering noise.

Now, this is the time for picking and choosing what you like from the dishes on the table; sticking them into your bowl. Everything in all dishes should be eaten together. Let’s taste…

In the whole of Vietnam, there are 3 suggested Cha ca La Vong restaurants:

"Banh Chung" - the soul of Vietnamese New Year!

"Banh Chung" (Chung cake) is a traditional and irreplaceable cake of Vietnamese people in the Tet Holidays and King Hung’s anniversary (10th March Lunar). For the Vietnamese, making "Banh Chung" is the ideal way to express gratitude to their ancestors and homeland.

The legend of " Banh Chung"

Chung cake was invented by the 18th Prince of Hung Emperor in the contest of looking for new Emperor. According to the legend, 3,000-4,000 years ago, Prince Lang Lieu, made round and square cakes, the round Day cake symbolizing the sky and the square Chung cake symbolizing the Earth (under the ancient Vietnamese perception), to be offered on the occasion of Spring.

In the ancient conception, the Earth is square, hence Chung cake's shape is square, too, to reflect the Earth shape. Since the cakes he offered were of special meaning and delicious taste, Lang Lieu was selected to be the next Emperor. Since then, in honor of this 18th Prince, Vietnamese people always make and have Chung cake in the Lunar New Year. Up to now, Chung cake has become the most famous and irreplaceable traditional Vietnamese food in Tet Holiday. This legend aims to remind the next generations of the ancient tradition as well as the primary of Chung cake. Besides, it emphasizes the important role of rice and nature in water rice culture.

How to make a "Banh Chung"?

In contrast to the fast food in modern life, the process of making Chung cake is time-consuming and requires the contribution of several people. Main ingredients are glutinous rice, pork meat, and green beans wrapped in a square of bamboo leaves that will give the rice a green color after boiling. The

sticky rice must be very good and was soaked in water in the previous day. Rice cake is wrapped in square shape, and the wrapping power must be neither tight nor loose. Then the cake will be boiled in about 12 hours by wood. The Green Chung cake has nutrition with an original tasty flavor and may be kept for a long time. Eating Chung cake with vegetable pickles will bring you unforgettable taste!

In the traditional conception of Vietnamese people, the process of making Chung cake is the opportunity for family to come together. Sitting around the warm fire, all members in the family tell one another the past stories and are ready for a New Year with wishes of best things. Nowadays, in some big cities, the business lifestyle of modern society prevent people from preparing the cake, however, the habit of worship ancestors with Chung cake never changes. It is the evidence of the Vietnamese loyalty and deep gratitude to ancestors.

Banh cuon (rolled rice pancake)

Among Vietnam’s delicate specialties, "bánh cuốn” ranks top thanks to its softness, sweet fragance of cinnamon, dried onion and strong taste of minced meat and sources!

Among other members of the extended noodle family, bánh cuốn almost ranks first. It is a paper-thin steamed rice flour pancake, much like delicate sheets of fresh rice noodles. The pancakes are plucked off of the linen steamer base, and immediately rolled with minced pork and mushrooms, then piled on a plate, sprinkled with deep fried shallots, snipped with scissors into bite sized sections, and topped with fresh herbs such as cilantro or Vietnamese basil. A plate of bánh cuốn is a light dish traditionally eaten as breakfast in Hanoi but now can also be found as a late night snack.

To eat, dip a section of rolled noodle goodness into the accompanying warm fish sauce broth, brightened with a squeeze of fresh lime. You can also pick the leaves off the herbs and add them to the dipping sauce, grabbing a leaf or two as you dip, or you can follow each bite with a chaser of herbs. Bánh cuốn are often eaten with different sides of pork sausages, including sheets of an orange hued, roasted cinnamon sausage called chả quế.

Where to find it?
A short walk north of Hàng Da Market and Hàng Điếu street will bring you to Bánh Cuốn Thanh Vân, just look for the bánh cuốn station—two large covered steaming pots—out front along the sidewalk. Just take a look! The practiced hands keep the bánh cuốn rolling out with experiences, alternating seamlessly between spreading the thin batter on the linen base of one steamer, then at right time, turning to the other to peel the delicately steamed pancake off the linen base with a bamboo stick. By the time the batter is spread on its newly emptied linen base, the pancake in the first steamer is ready and waiting. With only 6 tables nestled inside the small open storefront, the pace never slows. Serving 7AM-1PM and 5PM-11PM.

Coordinators:

No. 14 Hàng Gà street, between Hàng Mã and Hàng Vải (the Hàng Vải corner is lined with bamboo ladders and poles). It is located on the west side of the street, not far from where the street name changes from Hàng Cót to Hàng Gà.

The restaurant Quán Ăn Ngon, No.18 Phan Bội Châu Street, also does a very respectable version of bánh cuốn.

Pho (rice nooddle soup)

Pho, a typical dish of Hanoi people, has been existing for a long time. Pho is prepered not only in a sophisticated manner but also in the technique which is required to have sweet but pure bouillon, soft but not crasded 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.

The bouillon.

Boil 10 cups water. Burn the whole fresh onions over high heat until golden brown. Add beef spareribs or ox tail into the boiling water. Skim while cooking to make a clear broth. Add browned onion and carrots after 1 hour of boiling. Cook another hour. Then remove meat and vegetable. Strain the bouillon, season it with spices, salt, fish sause as indicated and keep boiling to server very hot soup. Add boiled water, if necessary, to have 6-8 cups of bouillon. This broth is very spicy and a little salty.

Slice tender beef finely and cooked beef coarsely. Soak dry rice noodles in hot water 10 minutes before cooking. Coolk rice noodles sparately until done (about 10-15 minutes), drain in hot water to remove the starch.

Server at once into bowl.

Beef soup, rare: cooked rice noodles 1/3 bowl, raw beef minced on top. Pour over them one cup boiling bouillon. Add bib lettuce, green onion and onion rings.

Beef soup, done: cooked rice noodles, cooked beef, bib lettuce, onion rings, green onion in top. Pour over all ingredients 1 cup boiling bouillon.

Provide the guests with spoons and chopstichs to take the soup.

Come to My Tho for tasting Hu Tieu

Hu Tieu (My Tho noodle soup) is a traditional dish, so specific to Southern Vietnam. As a Chinese long-aged dish, this food was reciped to taste My Tho delta people to become well-known nationwide.

Back in the 1960s, a shop in My Tho, 70 km from Ho Chi Minh City started serving this dish. Ever since then, its reputation has grown to become a very well known meal in Vietnam. It is said that the most delicious noodle soup is made with Co Cat rice, from the most famous rice growing area of My Phong village, a suburb of My Tho City.

My Tho seafood noodle soup is different from Chinese noodle soup, Nam Vang soup, as well as Hue beef noodle soup. The intersting thing is its secret recipe. In stead of herbs and lettuce, you will be tried the flavour of soy bean, lemon, chili, and soy sauce.

How does it taste?

The sweet aroma of the broth comes from the meat, dried squid, and special condiments. Not less important is the broth to cook from shinbone, pork, squids, additives and seasonings to taste subject to family secret as revealed by Chef Ba Chau to a well-selling shop in Trung Trac Street, My Tho City.

Taken as a national dish and something to recollect the delta land of My Tho, this noodle soup reciped in the Southern cuisine is second to none in meeting with various appetites of both oriental and western diners.

Can you find a bowl of Hu Tieu in Ha Noi?

You are in Hanoi, and wondering if such a My Tho’s specialty appears in Hanoi or not. Of course, My Tho noodle soup comes up quite often in many streets of Hanoi. It is better to ask your hotel receptionist to recommend a place nearby or you can refer to the following reliable address: Arab Kebab, 9B Thai Van Lung Street, Ha Noi.

“Banh gio” – Pyramidal rice dumpling

Not everyone can eat "banh gio". Yet, it is very easy to get addicted to it. That is true!

This simple dish sold in country markets has become a favorite breakfast of many Hanoians. People can find this dish in small stands o­n any street in Hanoi. The stands are always crowed with diners. Hanoians can enjoy this dish at any time, at breakfast, lunch or post-lunch.

Although pyramidal rice dumpling is simple, it is very good and healthy, especially its appealing fragrance. This white and smooth dumpling is wrapped in green banana leaf, which is regarded as the quintessence of heaven and earth.

The pyramidal rice dumpling is made from a few ingredients including plain rice flour, minced lean meat, cat’s ear, onion and mushroom. The process of stirring and kneading flour is the most important, which decides the deliciousness of the dumpling. Processing the dumpling flour is a secret handed from generation to generation. Some famous makers of pyramidal rice dumpling said that they bought flour in Ha Dong District but still kept secret what kind of flour was. Therefore, it is not easy to make delicious rice dumplings.

After soaking in water, flour is dried, which is similar to the kind of “banh te” (rice cake). This flour is continously dissolved in water when being cooked. After 45 minutes, the flour turns pure white and viscid, which means it is well-cooked. Then the flour is placed o­n phrynium leaf and wrapped with meat. These rice dumplings are then put into the boiling water for 20 minutes. After that, pyramidal rice dumplings are picked up. People can feel the fragrance of the filling, rice flour and the special smell of phrynium or banana leaf. It is so great to serve this dish with sour vegetable pickles, which makes good taste; therefore, some people can eat two or three dumplings at a time.

Sitting in crowded stands, feeling hungry and enjoying this dish, you will find it a pleasure in life...

 
 
 
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