Hoi An Cao Lau
Anyone who come to Hoi An shouldn’t miss the foremost traditional Cao Lau of the Hoi An ancient town. Walking around old houses, it’s not difficult to see many traditional restaurants and waitresses in dark Ao Dai. Cao Lau is a must in the menu of these restaurants because it has become the soul of the ancient town. This food is so famous that it’s always listed as top foods, must-eat foods in the ancient town.
What is Cao Lau? It’s the essence of Hoi An in a bowl. It’s a kind of yellow noodle soup eaten with shrimp, pork, herbs and broth. Similar to Quang Style Noodle Soup, this food is served with a little broth. You may think it’s a simple one, but it’s one of the most complicated foods in Vietnam. The highlight of gold yellow, thick and chewy Cao Lau’s noodle has a very special taste because it’s made from the ash of cajuput tree on Cham island and water of Ba Le well which is famous for fresh and pure water. Crispy deep-fried pigskin or Cao Lau pieces, stewed pork slices and crushed peanuts are topped before pouring a little broth of the stew. Pork ham is soaked in vinegar, then marinated with five spices before being stewed. Herbs grown in Tra Que village couldn’t be missed to add freshness to the dish. This is such a perfect mix of all perfect ingredients!
It has been said that mysterious and appealing Cao Lau appeared in the 17th century when Hoi An port had just been open for international boats floating and exchanging goods. This noodle was served on 2nd flour at 2-flour restaurants with colorful lanterns so that dinners enjoyed flavorful Cao Lau while relaxing in a warm atmosphere. That was the reason why we call this food Cao Lau which literally means “high flour”. This food reminds us of Japanese Udon, Chinese Noodle Soup and Vietnamese Quang Style Noodle Soup but it’s totally different from any kind of noodles. However, Cao Lau is unique and couldn’t be compared to any international and Vietnamese dish. Foreigners call this food its Vietnamese name, this food has no translation.
Being appreciated by most of the dinners and containing mystery, Cao Lau has become more and more popular and sold in many regions in Vietnam and other countries. The same food which is cooked outside of Hoi An couldn’t has its special taste from ash of cajuput tree on Cham island and water from Ba Le well. This elegant food is not only food but the soul of Hoi An as well as Vietnamese culture. Do not miss this food on your trip to Hoi An ancient town. Let enjoy the famous food on high flour under sparkle cloth lanterns.
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