Specialties of Vietnam

There are so many specialty dishes that are native to different regions throughout Vietnam that the topic deserves to be broken down into many posts.  Here are a few.

Bánh Cuốn, literally translates to "Rolled-Cake" is a specialty of Hanoi.  Fermented rice batter is poured ever so thinly across a stretched canvas to steam over a tall boiling basin of water. Watching the process is as cool as it sounds.  Women with a delicate hand wave a bamboo wand over the boiling drum and below the steamed crepe to flip from side to side so steadily, so consistently, that you almost can't believe your eyes.  Have you ever watched an old Chinese woman make dumplings, or a bread maker skillfully roll beautiful balls into perfect rounds that weigh the exact same amount every single time, without using a scale?  It's just like that.  One stroke to flip the crepe while the other hand adds wood ear mushrooms and ground pork before folding or "rolling" the artfully crafted crepe.  Then the 3rd arm comes in with another ladle full of the batter for the next order!  Just kidding, there is no 3rd arm, but those ladies certainly are quick.  Eat the stuffed rice crepes with nước chấm, a vietnamese dipping sauce and fresh herbs.  Don't worry, we gotchu..

Hot Pot!  Lots and lots of hot pot prepared many different ways and served all over Vietnam.  This is a dish that is the most enjoyable when sharing with many.  

It is definetly an interactive dish that encourages anyone enjoying the meal to slowly add their preference of vegetable, meat, fish, and herbs to the simmering broth.  We do this all the time at home with friends and everyone stands around the table sipping beer and cider.  This too, will be a specialty of HaiSous.

Hot Pot, Beer, Family, and a blurred bottle of booze in the background too.

Hot Pot, Beer, Family, and a blurred bottle of booze in the background too.

Ếch Kho : Stewed Frog.  This frog was tender and smothered in a silky sauce with fish sauce, palm sugar, lemongrass and ginger.  You must try this.  *Insert the obligatory "it tastes like chicken" reference if you need too. 

Ếch Kho : Stewed Frog

Ếch Kho : Stewed Frog

Grilling

Grilling is nothing to joke about in Vietnam.  It doesn't matter if it has to take place street side along the line of many vendors or while copping a squat in a park slinging grilled rice crepes with ground pork, scallion confit, and quail egg to the tourists that crowd in Saigon.  

Grilling with coals and a bucket at a park in Saigon

Grilling with coals and a bucket at a park in Saigon

Grilling will happen, and it will be done right.

THE FISH! Oh the fish..here they grill a type of snapper and giant tiger prawns.  Thai serves it with a side of, what he calls, "Pimp-Salt".  His own blend of chili, salts, and lime.  Dip it and enjoy it.  It is just that simple.

Clay-pot grilling is a specialty only found in Vietnam.  Until now.  At HaiSous, Chef Thai specializes in clay-pot grilling and it is a main feature on the menu and in the kitchen.

Testing 1,2,3.. yup, very tasty

Testing 1,2,3.. yup, very tasty