There are plenty of food related reasons for travelling to Hanoi. Pho (beef soup noodles), Bun Cha (grilled pork noodles) and Bun Bo Nam Bo (southern style beef noodle) are some of the dining draws. Today, I would like to introduce another Hanoi specialty called Cha Ca La Vong, which consists of river fish, turmeric, dill, peanut, ginger, spring onion, rice vermicelli and a fair load of oil.
This unique dish was created by the Doan family over a century ago and it has become so popular that the street name was renamed to Cha Ca Street. The humble looking restaurant had a lively atmosphere with narrow stairs adjoining the two floors.
Here you will find locals and foreigners enjoying the gastronomic Cha Ca La Vong (VND 170,000 ~ RM25).
Rice vermicelli is an integral ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. The best rice noodles have only two ingredients: water and rice / rice flour.
Accompanied ingredients: Roasted peanut, mint, coriander, spring onion, dill, fish sauce and shrimp paste (not in picture).
A portable gas stove and a small frying pan were brought to our table and the art of preparation was done by a waiter. The grilled fish was seasoned with turmeric before hitting the frying pan. Heaps of dill, green onion, cilantro and mint were chucked into the sizzling pan.
The room was instantly filled with a strong aroma of fish and fresh herbs. It was rumored that "dog fat" was used in this dish! Ewwww... I hope that's not true, but I guess no one would really know except for the inventor of this amazing dish.
After 3-5 minutes of cooking, the dish was ready to be served. The seasoned grilled fish was adorned by a tangy combination of onion, ginger, green onion and dill. It was further fortified by the peanut and shrimp paste, which exploded into a heady flavor.
Cha Ca La Vong is a one dish sweatshop, specializing in Cha Ca. Even though it is more pricey than other traditional Vietnamese foods, it is still worth a try. With La Vong, the God of Fisherman overseeing your meal, it is almost guarantee that the meal will be nutritious.
Verdict : SOMEWHAT SMITTEN
Cha Ca La Vong Restaurant
Address: 14 Cha Ca, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Telephone: 825 3929
Opening Hours: Lunch & Dinner
Price: VND 170,000 per person (not including drinks)