The unusual eats in Hanoi showcases the country’s nonpareil creativity when it comes to delectable dishes.
Most foreign travelers in the country are fond of Vietnam’s enticing and distinct cuisines. It is one of the reasons why they visit the country or come back.
The country features 3 regions with sub-ethnic groups living together, creating multicultural gastronomic delights.
Vietnam’s capital – Hanoi has been around for millennia and has been a melting pot of cultural diversity. However, this diversity also brings a sprinkle of peculiarity in taste.
Dog meat is perhaps one of the most common yet unusual things to eat in Asia. It can be eaten in a variety of ways, from grilled, stuffed in spring rolls, stir-fried, to add to soups. There are multiple dishes featuring dog meat, and they often include the head, feet as well as innards.
Dog meat restaurants can be found throughout the country. If you are in Hanoi and you are eager to try this dish, please come to a restaurant on Nhat Tan Street – Tay Ho District.
Typically, a chef will choose one of seven ways to cook a dog, collectively known as “cầy tơ 7 món“. You can choose steamed dog meat, dog sausage, steamed dog in shrimp paste, ginger and rice vinegar, grilled dog meat, bamboo shoots, and dog bone marrow, or fried dog in lemongrass and chili.
Here, you can see groups of customers who seated on mats spending their evenings sharing plates of dog meat and drinking alcohol.
Dog meat is supposed to raise libido and sometimes considered unsuitable for women. In other words, eating dog meat can serve as a male bonding exercise. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for women to eat dog meat.
The consumption of dog meat can be part of a ritual life which usually occurs at the end of the lunar month for reasons of astrology and luck.
Restaurants which mainly exist to serve dog meat may only open for the last half of the lunar month.
Nem Chua rán (Fried fermented pork sausage)
There is a typical street food with the familiar image of diners sitting on plastic chairs.
Ingredients of Nem Chua ran are like those of Nem Chua including cured pork and pork skins mixed with flour then stored for the natural fermentation process.
However, the fried one should be fermented in a shorter time to avoid too sour taste.
The sausages are mixed with seasoning, covered with flour, and deep-fried in hot oil. The fried sausage is cut into small pieces and placed on fresh banana leaves.
It is dipped in chili sauce and eaten with cucumber, pineapple, and guava. When people enjoy the hot fried sausage, they will find a greasiness, catching the aromatic smell of fried fermented pork along with a piquant taste of chili.
Nem chua ran is not sour regardless of how it’s called (chua means sour). While “ran” reflects the deep-frying process, “nem chua” is a sausage that has the same ingredients but an acidic taste from fermentation.
Hanoians had already been crazy about the raw version before chefs started to experiment with the frying pan. They ended up using the pre-fermented sausages for better texture and taste but keep the name for the fame.
Crispy outside but tender inside, nem chua ran is a good catalyst for a reunion with friends, all year round, but preferably in cool or chilly weather.
Phở chiên (Crispy fried Pho)
Pho is a typical Vietnamese dish however, fried Pho is one of the unusual eats in Hanoi. Normally, pho used for frying is rice noodle rolls or noodles, but they are shaped long and stacked to create a certain thickness and puffiness when frying, is not crumbled but still remains crispy.
The secret lies in piling up layers of Pho noodles, the pho dough is cut into little squares, which are fried until they become crispy inflated, golden brown little pillows.
It is then topped with the stir fried beef with bok Choy, which forms this amazing gas that is absorbed by the crispy pho pillows.
Kem chiên (Fried ice cream)
Another fried dish that many people think they mistakenly heard. Ice cream can’t be fried, but Hanoians have done it to create an interesting dish. In order for the cream to be perfectly crispy, the ice cream must be frozen at -5oF. At this point, the ice cream balls will be extremely hard, so when you put them in a pan of boiling oil, the cream will melt longer.
In addition, to make sure the cream is still cold after deep frying, the seller will roll the cream over the flour so that the flour sticks evenly and create a thick layer on the outside.
Finally, drop the cream into the pan of boiling oil, at high heat. Thanks to the extreme heat of the oil pan, the outer layer of the cream will quickly ripen and the cream inside is not melted.
Chả rươi (Winter worm cake)
Rươi or winter worm is a distinct seafood species in Vietnam, its appearance makes it look creepy for most people. But it is processed by the Vietnamese into a specialty dish with an irresistible taste and very high nutritional value.
It is “chả rươi”, this dish is extremely popular in Hanoi, but many visitors have not tasted it, perhaps because the ingredients are too strange.
No matter how creepy winter worm looks on the outside, it is astonishingly delicious on the inside.
Winter worm is one of the unusual eats in Hanoi that is not that easy to find because winter worms only appear a few days a year. Restaurants have to purchase them in bulk and freeze them for serving the year round. This explains the price tag behind this dish.
This weird food of Hanoi is a seasonal luxurious treat. The winter worms are best when mixed with a little pork and chicken eggs and special herd then fried.
The smell is so good you will instantly forget how ugly the worms look.