Cao Lau Hoi An: A Blissful Street Food Delicacy Worth Trying
History and Origin of Cao Lau:
Cao Lau has a fascinating history that dates back to the 17th century. Legend has it that the dish was created by a Japanese merchant who wanted to recreate a dish from his homeland. He used local ingredients and combined them with Japanese techniques and voila Cao Lau was born. Over time, the dish went through several phases of evolution and became a unique culinary culture of Hoi An. The recipe of Cao Lau has been closely guarded by the locals and only those who possess the traditional knowledge can make it taste authentic.
The Ingredients of Cao Lau:
What makes Cao Lau uniquely different from other Vietnamese noodles dishes is its use of water from a specific well in Hoi An called Ba Le well. It's believed that the minerals in the well water give the noodles its unique texture and taste. The noodles are made from rice flour and sometimes mixed with ash water to create a yellow hue. The dish also consists of slices of pork, which are marinated with five-spice and herbs, and then slow-cooked to render its fat and add flavor to the broth. The dish is then topped off with fresh greens like mint, coriander, and lettuce, and crispy fried rice crackers.
Where to Find Cao Lau in Hoi An:
Cao Lau is easily available in different establishments in Hoi An. However, to get the most authentic experience, it's always better to try Cao Lau from street vendors. You can find the dish being sold in several street food stalls around Hoi An's Old Town. One of the popular places to try is the Cao Lau Ba Be stall located in the central market. Here, you'll get to witness the making of Cao Lau as the cooks prepare it right in front of you.
Tips to Enjoy Cao Lau at its Best:
Cao Lau is best enjoyed hot and fresh. It's always better to eat the dish as soon as it's served to get the perfect texture and taste. Make sure to mix the ingredients well before digging in as the broth tends to sink down. You can add more herbs, chilis, or sauce to your liking to enhance the flavor. Try to pair the dish with a local beer or fresh sugarcane juice to amplify the experience.
Cao Lau Hoi An is a dish that offers a unique flavor and a distinct cultural experience that you must not miss. It's a testament to the rich history and culture of Hoi An and is guaranteed to leave you with a fantastic food experience. So, when planning your next trip to Vietnam, make sure to add Cao Lau to your list of must-try dishes and relish it like a true local. Bon Appétit!