A Hanoian Delicacy
posted by Stephanie in Indulgences
Taking its name from the tiny side street where the old house resides is this delicious turmeric fish – Cha Ca La Vong. On #14 rue Cha Ca in Hanoi is a crooked sea foam green house that serves nothing but its specialty. It’s grimy, its hot with absolutely no polite niceties at the door but you come out absolute satisfied by this fragrant culinary wonder. A giant oil filled wok is brought to you table side with the fish happily sizzling away, adorned by a garden of fresh green herbs and a bowl of cold rice noodles. Taken apart it all seems simple and boring enough but once you eat it all together it’s a delight in freshness and flavor. The trick is not to skimp on the herbs. Use the freshest once that you can possibly find, tear them up a little but leave them whole in all its glory. Serve it all precariously piled high like a stunning mountain of green topped with the fried shallots, then right before eating mix everything together making sure you take bites where there is a little bit of everything. A perfect meal for this summer heat!
Some snapshots of the original dish:
VIETNAMESE CHA CA LA VONG
200g cream dory
15ml canola oil
5g peeled red ginger small slices
5g garlic, minced
5g minced lemongrass
5g spring onions, 2 inch lengths
5g mint leaves
5g sweet basil leaves
5g dill leaves
5g fried shallots or red onions*
2 tablespoons Vietnamese dressing*
50g rice noodles / bihon noodles
dash of turmeric powder
2 ½ Fish Sauce
2 tbsp Sugar
½ cup Water
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Raw Garlic cloves thinly sliced
Dressing: Bring the fish sauce, sugar, garlic, carrots, whole red chillies, and water to a quick boil until the sugar is well dissolved then let cool. Adjust the taste with white vinegar or lemon. The taste must be a mix between sweet and sour with a hint of heat.
Fried Shallots or Red Onions: Slice the shallots or red onions thinly. Dredge with flour and deep fry in a neutral oil. You may save the shallot flavored oil for later use in other dishes.
Cha Ca La Vong: Boil the rice noodles accordingly to package, drain and rinse immediately with cold water and set aside. Sauté the garlic, red ginger and lemongrass in canola oil for a minute or two and add a dash of turmeric powder to give the extra color. Add the Dory and sauté it in the fragrant and colored oil until cooked through. Season with some salt and pepper. Plate the fish on top of the noodles pouring some of the cooking oils on it. Top it with the whole fresh herbs and fried onions. Drizzle the vietnamese dressing on the fish and noodles serving some on the side for those who may want more.
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