Hoi An vermicelli | SonDoong Cave in Vietnam

Hoi An vermicelli

Hoi An vermicelli

Cao Lau is the foremost traditional Hoi An food. Visitors to Hoi An always remember Cao Lau, which was considered by Quang Nam people as a special symbol for Hoi An.

Cao lau noodles are carefully made from local new sticky rice. Water used to soak rice must be taken from wells in the Ba Le Village; noodles thus will be soft, enduring and flavored with special sweet-smelling. Centre Vietnam tours

On the Cao Lau noodles were some meat slices mixed with fat made from fried noodles served with vegetables and bean sprouts. Sharp-witted eaters would find out the specific flavor of the dish.
Dry pancakes used as ingredient must be thick with much sesame on the surface. Greasy coconut quintessence and bitter green cabbage are also indispensable. The so-called genuine Cao lau Hoi An must satisfy all above requirements.

Hoi An vermicelli

Hoi An vermicelli

It was said that only some wells in Hoi An were used to make Cao Lau noodles. What is more, only some Hoi An families were able to produce Cao Lau by their own traditional way, but the quality was not as good as it was before. Cao Lau did not have Vietnamese flavor.

There are many variations of this dish in Hoi An, some vary the way the pork is cooked (or omitted), using different greens (or absence of mint), sometimes topped with fried pork rind, peanuts, rice crackers, and/or scallions; and sometimes served with lime or chili jam. In the last few decades, new restaurants with modern versions have added shrimp or chicken, and additional herbs. And the pork broth is sometimes blended with dried shrimp/squid or chicken stock. The only consistent item are the noodles. So if you see Cao Lau noodles, then you have Cao Lau.

Cao Lau differs from typical Vietnamese noodle dishes because it has no soup. In Vietnamese, locals call it a “mixing dish” because it includes vegetables, fried lard and sauce on top of the noodles. The ingredients are placed in the dish, but it’s the customer who mixes them together. Cao Lau is therefore a special variety of noodle dish. It is also different from Quang noodle, another Vietnamese noodle dish, because of the amount of sauce, the additional ingredients, and the type of noodles used.

To make Cao Lau noodles, the rice has to be stone ground and mixed with ash and water. The ash is made with firewood from the Cham Islands, around 19 km from Hoi An. The noodles are cut and then cooked three times with firewood. The water to cook the noodles is also very special because it only comes from specific wells in Hoi An. This is why Cao Lau is a dish that can only be prepared in Hoi An. Cao Lau combines various flavors (sour, pungent, bitter, astringent and sweet) in the vegetables, soy sauce and fried lard. Cao Lau is served at room temperature

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