Pha Lau or Vietnamese Stew with Organ Meats, Stewed Organ Meats is favorite street food cooked from beef organ meats (beef tripe, intestine, heart, thymus, kidney, stomach and lungs) or pork organs (pork intestine, stomach) and pork ears. These organs are stewed in coconut water with curry powder, five spices and other ingredients for many hours until tender. So that this food is extremely delicious, it’s a perfect blend of flavorful broth and chewy, tender, crunchy organ meats. Pha Lau is eaten with steamed rice/noodles/plain bread/steamed sticky rice, Vietnamese mints, pickles and dipping sauce (fish sauce dip with tamarind, fish sauce dip with lemon juice, mix of pepper salt and lemon juice. There are 2 kinds of Vietnamese Stew with Organ Meats: Pha Lau Bo (Vietnamese Stewed Beef Organ Meats) and Pha Lau Long Heo va Tai Heo (Vietnamese Stewed Pork Organ Meats and Pork Ears). The difference is only combination of organ meats, other ingredients, recipe, way to eat are the same.
It takes many steps to cook Pha Lau, the cook must be experienced and patient. Organs must be chosen carefully and washed for many times with wine, lemon juice, salt. After throwing useless parts of organs, organ meats should be boiled with ginger to remove their smell. Organ meats are cut into pieces, marinated with ground garlic, five spices, turmeric powder (optional), curry powder (optional), wine (optional), soy sauce (optional), black pepper, sugar, salt for at least 30 minutes. After being stirred-fried with garlic, marinated organ meats are cooked in coconut water until pleasant. Tripe, intestine, heart, stomach and ears should be fragrant, crunchy and yellow brown. The thick and brown broth must have great smell and sweet, salty, greasy taste.
Vietnamese mint is the best herbs to eat with flavorful Pha Lau. To eat, dinners use chopsticks to get pieces of organ meats, a little Vietnamese mints and dip into sauce and tuck in. If this food is served with plain bread, dinners dip the bread pieces into the broth and eat. If Vietnamese Stew with Organ Meats is served with noodles, the broth should cover the noodles. Some prefer adding lemon juice into the bowl of Pha Lau to make the broth a little sour and less greasy. Pha Lau is also eaten with steamed rice and pickles. Vietnamese Banh Mi with Pha Lau – plain bread filled with Pha Lau, pate, cucumber, carrot and daikon pickles, coriander is also a famous street food. To serve Steamed sticky rice with Stewed Organ Meats, they top basic Steamed sticky rice with Pha Lau, deep-fried onion, crushed peanuts, pate (optional).
Vietnamese Stew with Organ Meats has been more and more popular in Vietnam, especially Saigon and Hanoi where there are a lots of street foods. It’s a big miss if tourists miss this exotic street food on their trip to Saigon and Hanoi. Don’t be worry about the organ meats which you may have never tried before, you will love this food at first bite.
If you would like to taste this, please go with us Saigon Street food tour.