Monday, 4 August 2008

One Last Meal - Hanoi

A last minute change of plans brought us back to Hanoi a day early, which meant an extra evening to hit the streets for food and stocking up on another batch of those oh-so-cheap DVDs *ah hemmm*.

I was really gearing myself up to a last minute gorge everything on sight. First stop, banh cuon. A rice noodle roll, much in the spirit of the cheong fun found in dim sum restaurants, banh cuon has an even yummier (is that possible?) stuffing of fried minced pork with fish sauce, garlic, dried shitake mushrooms and wood ear fungus. What isn't there to like?

Here's the banh cuon woman hard at work. A mixture of rice flour is ladled over a flat surface sitting over a big pot of boiling water, the pot lid goes on for a few seconds and when it comes off, a thin sheet of wobbly soft rice noodles is revealed; all ready to be rolled into banh cuon. The woman quickly peals it off the steamer and stuffs it with the delicious minced pork mixture. She works incredibly quickly, never once slowing down to let me take a proper photo ... ahhh tourists! :)

The finished product. A fuzzy photo reflects a hungry tummy :) and poor lighting. A mound of soft rice noodle rolls bursting with meaty goodness and piled high with crunchy deep fried shallots. Served with cha lua/gio lua - a local sausage, which came in a bowl with nuoc nam (seen at the top of the photo) and a plate the usual greenery - sweet basil and coriander. It was utterly delicious, even better with the shallots.

Despite gearing myself up to eat lots that last night, I was way to full for anything else. A pity :( We left with a feeling that the banh cuon woman overcharged us but hey - it was still came to about US$1 -1.50 per person, so no complains from us :)

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