Breakfast in the Old Quarter: pig’s offal porridge

By Ngoisao/Thao Nhi   August 27, 2016 | 03:00 pm PT
When strong taste doesn’t rhyme with hesitate.

Pig’s offal rice porridge is a daily dish loved by many. At the turn of season, when the winds blow drier and the sun feels crispier, the porridge gains ever more attractiveness. Being a rice-porridge based dish, pig’s offal rice porridge (‘chao long’ to be Hanoian) also boasts the heat with which many dishes draw people to their places in the cool weekend morning of autumn. The ingredients that lend ‘chao long’ their tastiness and strong smell include rice and bone broth for the porridge and liver, tubular innards et al for the meaty experience.

The color of ‘chao long’, which is the result of blood added to the porridge, even earns a place in the daily life palette, used exclusively to describe white fabric so worn out that it loses its whiteness, turning brownish.

As the autumn nears, let VnExpress take you on a tour to the places worth having ‘chao long’ the most in the lovely maze of Hanoi called the Old Quarter.

12 Hang Tre Street

The ‘chao long’ on Hang Tre Street is no different from other places in appearance and operation time: open early and close late in the morning. ‘Chao long’ here is traditional with familiar blood porridge eaten with small intestine and Vietnamese sausage served with herbs and ‘quay’, the same fried dough sticks that accompany the world-renowned pho. Customers come here for the original taste of ‘chao long’ available at VND30,000 ($1.4) a bowl.


'Chao long' in Hang Tre. Photo from Instagram/@florietran

4 Dao Duy Tu Street

The street is no stranger to the Old Quarter lovers, being the birthplace of the ‘tra chanh’ (lime tea) that once swept through Hanoi. ‘Chao long’ in Dao Duy Tu is a bit more watery compared with others but always comes with piles of offal. Organs here are not pre-boiled as they usually are elsewhere, but will go through boiling porridge when ordered, the same way raw beef ‘tai’ is in pho. This method of cooking is favored by many as it’s deemed to preserve all the sweetness of the ingredient. A bowl of tastiness comes at VND40,000 ($1.8) and is available all day.


'Chao long" in Dao Duy Tu. Photo from Instagram/@florietran

Hang Phen Street

At the intersection of Hang Phen and Thuoc Bac streets lies a ‘chao long’ that has occupied the pavement for the last 20 years. The place also serves the traditional ‘chao long’ to its own fandom accumulated through all the years of business. A bowl of ‘chao long’ here also claims around the VND30,000 - 40,000 range.


'Chao long' on the pavement of Hang Phen Street.

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