Hai Phong fried sea-crab square roll or Nem vuong cua be with a unique shape and outstanding flavor is an authentic Vietnamese dish. A trip to Hai Phong city could not complete without tasting this famous dish. Nem vuong cua be is a fried dish made from at least 10 ingredients: sea-crabs, rice papers, shrimps, pork, eggs, bean sprouts, carrots, sweet mushrooms, wood ears, cellophane noodles, onions and spices. It is crispy outside but tender inside. The rolls are usually served with rice noodles, dipping fish sauce, fresh and aromatic herbs and vegetables.
Although Hai Phong fried sea-crab square roll is sold popularly at many Vietnamese restaurants, the square rolls made by Hai Phong people at local restaurants have special taste and smell. In the city, there are many old-standing restaurants which serve Fried crab square roll for dozens of years. The difference of Nem vuong cua be in Hai Phong comes from the ingredients and recipes. Sea-crab in Hai Phong is not big but its meat is firm and rich. Rice paper in Hai Phong is thicker and stickier than one in other regions of Vietnam. Not similar to other Vietnamese fried roll (Cha gio), they do not mix all of the ingredients to make the filling but put a layer of each ingredient onto the other. The rolls are only fried right after being ordered to make sure the rolls are still warm and crispy.
Following is how they make delicious Fried sea-crab square roll. The cook boil sea-crabs, then get crab meat out of the shells. Shrimps are steamed, peeled off . Dried cellophane noodles are boiled and chopped. Dried sweet mushrooms and wood ears are soaked in water, then chopped. Pork is ground, then mixed with chopped wood ears, egg yolks, salt, onions. All of fillings are ready to be wrapped. The cook dip a sheet of square rice paper in water, aim to moderately wet (not completely softened) both sides. After that, he puts the wet sheet onto a flat board, puts a layer of pork mixture, then a layer of sweet mushrooms, a layer of bean sprouts, a layer of crab meat and shrimp on the top. The cook must carefully wrap all of the layers in the rice paper into a square which is as small as a human hand. The sea-crab square rolls must be fried in boiling oil and changed their sides continuously so that they are crispy, well-done and light yellow.
To served, a square roll is cut into four smaller squares, it reveals the tasty, good-looking and smelling fillings. As mentioned above, the fried sea-crab square roll is served hot with rice noodles, dipping fish sauce, fresh and aromatic herbs and vegetables. The traditional Nem vuong cua be has won the hearts of all Vietnamese people and foreigners for many years. It has been the pride of Hai Phong city beside flam trees with beautiful red flowers.
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