Vietnam’s Record’s Organisation has submitted 15 of the country’s most popular dishes to the Asian Record’s Organisation. The capital city of Hanoi is home to four of the nominees.
1. Pho Hanoi
Pho is renowned as a Hanoian favourite. Whether Pho is tasty or not depends on the cook’s experience and the traditional recipe for making the Vietnamese noodle soup which is usually served with beef of chicken.
Pho has been referred to by several famous Vietnamese writers such as Thach Lam, Nguyen Tuan and Vu Bang.
A number of popular restaurants in Hanoi that serve Pho have been highlighted, including the Thin in Lo Duc Street, the Suong in Dinh Liet Street, the Ly Sang in Phung Hung Street and the Cuong restaurant in Hang Muoi Street, amongst others.
Pho is also widely enjoyed overseas and is ranked 28 th in the top 50 favourite dishes around the world, according to a survey by CNN in July 2011.
2. Bun cha Hanoi
When entering a Bun cha restaurant in Hanoi, the first thing you notice is the rich smell of sizzling grilled pork. A bowl of this traditional Vietnamese cuisine is also very colourful due to the combination of pork, carrots, peppers and greens.
The sweetness of each slice of pork, the sour sauce and the aroma of the various kinds of ingredients make it a perfect meal.
One of Hanoi’s most famous Bun cha restaurants are the Hang Manh which is named after a street and the Ha Thanh at 5 Nguyen Thi Thap Street in Cau Giay district.
3. Cha ca La Vong
The Cha ca La Vong restaurant at 14 Cha Ca Street has a well merited reputation in Hanoi . It was first opened by the Doan family in the early 20 th century and has gradually become a local specialty.
When visiting the restaurant on a winter’s day, diners are served a complete Cha ca La Vong meal, including a bowl of onions and dill; a mixture of shrimp paste, lime and chilli slices; vegetables, peanuts and rice vermicelli.
To cook, fry some pieces of Langfish (Hemibagrus fish) with onions and dill in oil, wait for a while then remove from the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and sprinkle with peanuts, a little shrimp paste and oil. Mix together and eat for the perfect taste and aroma.
4. Bun thang
Hanoi’s Bun thang is a specialty which is often made during the Tet holiday celebrations.
Like many other kinds of noodle soup, this delicacy uses similar ingredients such as round rice noodles blanched briefly in boiling water, broth and spices.
However, to make it perfect requires particularly strict and rigorous cooking techniques. A savory bowl of bun thang depends first and foremost on the thang or broth.
On top of a bowl of bun thang lies a layer of different ingredients, not mixed randomly together, but arranged so that each occupies a corner of the bowl; shreds of pork and fried egg, soft chicken fillets cut into shreds and fluffy shredded sea shrimp. With everything is in the right place each ingredient sets off the others.
Several kinds of herbs add flavour to bun thang including coriandrum sativum, f r agrant vegetables and small spring onion s. A little shrimp paste and Lethocerus indicus essence perfectly highlights the dishes rich flavours.
The largest economic hub in the southern region, Ho Chi Minh City , formerly Saigon, offers two of the most popular dishes.
5. Goi cuon, Saigon raw fish and vegetables
Goi cuon consists of pork, prawn, herbs, rice vermicelli and other ingredients wrapped in rice paper.
The important thing that decides if people enjoy these fresh spring rolls is the dipping sauce, which is made from fish or shrimps. The sauce is mixed with minced garlic, chilli, lime juice and sugar to have salty, sweet, sour and peppery taste.
6. Saigon Com Tam
Com Tam or Broken rice was previously only eaten by poor people, but over time, it has become popular with most Southerners because of its unforgettable taste and simple ingredients.
A dish of broken rice includes pork chops, shredded pork skin, steamed pork and egg patty, with an egg fried sunny side up placed on top of the cooked broken rice.
Typically, along with omelette’s and grilled chopped meat, the dish is served with various vegetables and pickles.
With broken rice, the important thing for people to enjoy it is the dipping sauce.
Apart from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, 9 dishes from other regions have also been submitted, which are:
7. Hai Phong’s Crab Noodles
8. Ninh Binh’s Rice crackers
9. Nghe An’s Eel Vermicelli
10. Hue’s spicy beef noodles
11. Quang Noodles in the central Vietnam
12. Gia Lai’s Dry Noodles
13. Trang Bang’s Rice Spaghetti
14. Vung Tau’s Khot Cakes (coconut-turmeric shrimp pancakes)
15. Soc Trang’s Cong Cakes (rice and green bean cake with shrimp).