If you are a traveler, then it is definitely know about Hoi An – a peaceful city with a unique nostalgic beauty, outstanding with a diverse and rich cuisine. Referring to the cuisine in Hoi An, people will immediately think of Cao Lau Hoi An – a pride of the cuisine here. How delicious is it that makes visitors so nostalgic? Let’s find out with Explore Viet Nam!
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What is Cao Lau Hoi An?
When you hear the name Cao Lau at the first time, surely many of you will wonder what “cao lau” is? The name sounds strange, like a foreigner’s dish. But in fact, Cao Lau is a Vietnamese dish and is very popular in the Central region.
Cao Lau is a type of noodle soup. Yellow noodles, broth is usually pork bone broth, the toppings include char siu, pork, shrimp, served with raw vegetables or grilled rice paper (or fried rice paper).
The origin of Cao Lau Hoi An
Cao Lau is so famous that any visitor who comes to this ancient city wants to enjoy the taste of this dish once. Cao Lau in Hoi An is so popular, but do you know where this dish comes from?
According to historical records, the Cao Lau dish appeared around the 17th century. At that time, Lord Nguyen opened a trade door at Hoi An port. Hoi An port became the busiest seaport in our country at that time. There are many merchants from all over the region and around the world, most are still traders from China and Japan who come here to trade.
They not only bring goods to trade but also bring the characteristics of their culture, including a unique culinary culture. Vietnamese people learn the key of the cultural characteristics of China and Japan, gradually creating Cao Lau. Cao Lau has Chinese and Japanese culture, but the taste is Vietnamese.
And the name “cao lau” means that the delicacy should be enjoyed on the upper floor. There is a document that records in the past, merchants who came to the port town to trade or chose to sit on high floors to conveniently look after their goods. But if you don’t sit at the restaurant, people can’t, but if you sit for too long, you will feel hungry, so you ask the shop owner to bring consistent delicious dishes. The owner immediately brought the noodle soup with a mixture of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines for merchants to enjoy. And that is Hoi An’s Cao Lau dish today.
Raw vegetables served with Hoi An Cao Lau
With a dish of noodle soup, raw vegetables are an indispensable part, Cao Lau is no exception. Normally, people will eat Cao Lau with the bean sprouts over boiling water, so that it is not overcooked while still maintaining the crispy taste. In addition, Cao Lau is also served with other raw vegetables, up to 12 vegetables such as star fruit, lettuce, cilantro, herbs, banana flower, cucumber, …
How to make Cao Lau
To prepare this delicious dish, you just need to complete the following main steps:
Step 1: Make Cao Lau’s noodles
To be able to make Cao Lau noodles, we need to use plain flour, rice flour and tapioca flour. After mixing these three flours with a ratio of 1:1:1, we begin to knead the dough continuously for 30 minutes until the dough is smooth, not hard, nor sticky, then stop, then let the dough rest in 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, we take the dough out, roll it out and cut it into strands, then bring the noodles to steam.
Step 2: Prepare the broth
Firstly, you need to prepare and deodorize the pork bones. After the pork bones have been deodorized, put a pot with 3 liters of water on the stove, then add 1 onion, season with a little salt, and finally put the pork bones in the pot to simmer for 1 hour.
Step3: Marinating char siu
To make the standard char siu meat of Cao Lau, we need to choose a whole piece of lean meat. After processing and washing, we will marinate the meat with spices such as soy sauce, five spices, salt, seasoning seeds. After soaking the meat for 30 minutes, we will fry the meat on low heat. Fry until all surfaces of the meat are golden.
The above is a simple and brief recipe of Hoi An Cao Lau, but if you are really curious and love this dish, you should visit Hoi An once to have the most authentic experience of the specialty in this old town.
Where is the best place to eat Cao Lau in Hoi An?
1) Cao Lau Lien Hoi An
Address: No. 16 Thai Phien Street, in the city. Hoi An, Quang Nam
Opening hours: 13:00 – 21:00
Reference price: 25,000 VND – 45,000 VND
2) Cao Lau Mrs. Thanh Hoi An
Address: No. 26 Thai Phien Street, Hoi An, Quang Nam
Opening hours: 7am – 7pm
Reference price: 30,000 VND – 45,000 VND
3)Cao Lau Trung Bac Hoi An
Address: No. 87 Tran Phu street, Hoi An, Quang Nam
Opening hours: 7am – 10pm
Reference price: 40,000 VND – 60,000 VND