Five dishes that fit Hanoi’s chill bill

By Bao Ngoc    November 9, 2018 | 12:26 pm GMT+7

From rice-based soups to steamed mollusk, five dishes stand ready to warm you up in Hanoi's late autumn chilly weather. 

Vietnamese hot steamed rice cake

Hot steamed rice cake is complemented by stir-fried ground pork and Jews ear mushroom. Photo by VnExpress/Dan Thao

Hot steamed rice cake is complemented by stir-fried ground pork and Jew's ear mushroom. Photo by VnExpress/Tuyet Mai

The steamed rice cake is cooked and stored in a hot pot, only ladled out when a customer places an order. The white sticky cake is complemented by stir-fried ground pork and Jew’s ear mushroom, which gives the dish a meaty and greasy element.

The broth is absolutely essential in this dish. A helping of pork bone broth and some cilantro complete a perfect dish for a chilly day.

At some eateries, the cook places some fried tofu pieces on top of the bowl. The golden addition adds a crunchy twist to the dish. Foodies can add some chili to raise the temperature.

When the first gust of chill wind blows into the Vietnamese capital, Hanoians know what to seek: a hot bowl of sizzling, fatty and nutritious food. There is no better option than a hot steamed rice cake with sufficient nutrients to warm you up on a chilly day.

Visit food stalls at 8B Le Ngoc Han Street or 246 Minh Khai Street to enjoy hot steamed rice cakes made by cooks with decades of experience.  

Address: 8B Le Ngoc Han Street, 246 Minh Khai Street

Price: VND10,000 – 15,000 ($0.42-0.64)

Pork rib congee

Photo by VnExpress/Bao Ngoc 

The smooth congee, the soft braised pork rib, crunchy breadsticks create a harmony of savors for this dish. Photo by VnExpress/Bao Ngoc 

Congee is a year-round sweetheart of Hanoi foodies, but as autumn winds start blowing, the dish becomes even more favored. The smooth congee, the soft braised pork rib, crunchy breadsticks create a harmony of savors for this dish.

In a 25-year-old version of this dish, found at 37 Luong Su C Alley, Quoc Tu Giam Street, quail egg unexpectedly fits into the narrative. A bowl of congee here has ground pork, dried pork and steamed quail eggs.

Address: 37 Luong Su C Alley, Quoc Tu Giam Street; 2a Ly Quoc Su Street, Ngo Huyen Street

Price: VND15,000 – 35,000 ($0.64-1.50)

Hot sweet soups

A bowl of black bean sweet soup. Photo by VnExpress/Tuyet Mai

A bowl of black bean sweet soup. Photo by VnExpress/Tuyet Mai

Sweet soups are not exclusively for summer. The hot version of sweet soups is excellent for a cloudy, windy day with its thick and starchy texture.

A popular one is the cassava sweet soup, cooked with cassava, coconut water, coconut rice and ginger. Black bean sweet soup is another popular hot soup. Black beans are cooked with some cassava powder and sugar to create a thick paste. All the sweet soups need to be served when they are very hot.

Address: 146 Quan Thanh Street, 39 Ly Quoc Su Street

Price: VND10,000 – 15,000 ($0.42-0.64)

Steamed snails

Photo by Ngoisao/Nguyen Chi 

Steamed snails are Hanoi's favorite. Photo by Ngoisao/Nguyen Chi 

Hanoians’ love for snails is evident judging by the number of snail restaurants and stalls on its many streets and alleys. If you catch sight of a board saying oc nong, meaning hot steamed snail, you will probably have the most stomach-warming experience that day.

Don’t be put off by the dark-colored snails lying in the dish. All are steamed in boiling water for a suitable period to retain both their crunchiness and juicy texture. The bland snail flesh only turns appetizing after being dipped into the hot fish sauce mixed with chili slices and lemongrass. 

Some restaurants where you can find this adored snack of Hanoians are at 1A Dinh Liet and Ngo Si Lien streets.

Address: 1A Dinh Liet Street, Ngo Si Lien Street

Price: VND30,000 – 100,000 ($1.28-4.28) 

Spicy fish noodles

A bowl of fish noodle at a restaurant on Lang Ha street, Hanoi. Photo by Bao Ngoc 

A bowl of fish noodle at a restaurant on Lang Ha Street, Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Bao Ngoc 

Served at many restaurants across the city, the spicy fish noodle is explosively hot in its broth and meaty components.

A typical bowl includes rice noodles with deep-fried sea fish fillet and fish sausage, and is served with shredded banana shaft, lettuce and other greens.

An even hotter version, from northern Hai Phong City, has travelled all the way to Hanoi to satisfy the cravings of chili lovers here. The dish stands out for its inclusion of deep-fried fish skin and fish offal. The offal is sometimes stuffed with ground meat and pepper, forming a unique kind of fish sausage. 

Address: 107 Lang Ha Street, 42 Hang Dau Street.

Price: VND25,000 – 40,000 ($1.07-1.71)

 
 
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