Savouring Vietnam: From Cao Lau to Culinary Wonders 

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Written by Jude
Published on 1st February 2024 at 09:45 • No comments yet, be the first!

Traveling my way through southeast Asia, starting in Singapore and eventually ending up in the mountains of northern Thailand, I was lucky enough to make my way through the beautiful country of Vietnam. After attempting this trip back in 2019 and having it cut short by a global pandemic, it felt great finally getting back out there to explore the culinary delights of this wonderful country. Faced with a plethora of different textures and flavours, ranging from pho to báhn mì, I couldn't wait to get involved! On our travels we visited a few different cities and saw a range of different landscapes in each, including Hanoi which is the capital of Vietnam, the densely populated Ho Chi Minh city and the mountainous but beautiful Hà Giang region. However, I fell in love with the lantern lit canals of a small town called Hoi An


If you're a food lover always on the lookout for unique culinary experiences, Hội An, Vietnam, should definitely be on your travel list. This charming coastal town is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also the birthplace of an amazing dish known as Cao Lầu. 

Even with the beautiful lantern shows every night Cao Lau emerges as the star of the show, It isn't just any noodle dish; it's a piece of history served on a plate. This special treat has its roots in Hội An dating back to the 17th century with locals claiming that the secret to its authentic taste is in the town's ancient Ba Le well water. Having a delightful blend of flavors and textures Cao Lau is made with….

Noodles: The heart of this dish lies in its thick, chewy noodles. These noodles, known for their unique texture and flavor, are prepared using water drawn from Hoi An's ancient Ba Le wells.

Pork: Delicately marinated and thinly sliced pork, either grilled or roasted, contributes a smoky, savory dimension to the dish.

Fresh Herbs: Aromatic herbs such as mint, basil, and coriander add a burst of freshness and fragrance to every bite.

Greens: Crisp lettuce leaves and crunchy bean sprouts infuse the dish with a satisfying crunch and a touch of vibrant greenery.

Crunchy Rice Croutons: The inclusion of crispy rice croutons offers a delightful contrast, both in texture and flavor.

Flavorful Broth: A rich, savory broth is generously poured over the noodles and ingredients, mixing all the components into a harmonious blend of flavors.

Beyond Cao Lau, Vietnam is a treasure trove of culinary wonders with each region offering its unique traditions and flavours. While Cao Lau holds a special place in my heart for its unique taste, I'm going to briefly explore some of the other beautiful dishes vietnam has to offer:

Pho: The fiery noodle soup originated in the Nam Định region near Hanoi, which features thin rice noodles bathed in fragrant beef or chicken broth, Topped with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime, and chili. A dish renowned as a national treasure!

Bánh Mì: A Vietnamese sandwich, which is a testament to the country's colonial history. French baguettes meet a diverse array of fillings, from grilled meats and pâté to fresh vegetables and coriander. The result is a delicious blend of East and West that you can find at street corners and markets across Vietnam.

Goi Cuon: Also known as fresh spring rolls. These translucent rice paper rolls are packed with herbs, vermicelli noodles, shrimp or pork, and are served with a delightful peanut dipping sauce. They're a delightful burst of flavors and textures that exemplify Vietnamese cuisine's emphasis on freshness.

Bun Cha: A Hanoi specialty, Bún chả is a beloved dish that combines grilled pork, vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and a dipping sauce that's a perfect balance of sweet and savory. This Hanoi specialty is a perfect example of Vietnamese street food.

In conclusion, Vietnamese food is a treasure trove of flavors, textures, and culinary traditions that have evolved over centuries. Whether you're wolfing down a Bahn mi on a busy street corner or enjoying a bowl of cao lau sitting by the picturesque Hoi An harbourside, each bite offers a taste of the rich culture and history that makes Vietnamese food such an adventure. 

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