Six “super delicious” dishes in Hai Phong making all visitors “fall in love”
The dishes of the "port land" such as sweet soup with coconut, crab noodles, scorched rice with seafood and so on all have a simple way of cooking, but they have typical tastes fascinating customers.
While Hanoi is famous for different kinds of noodles and Nam Dinh is well-known for “Xiu Pao”, when it comes to Hai Phong's typical dish, it is definitely “Banh Da Cua” or “Crab Noodles”. In Hai Phong, this dish is available everywhere - from luxury restaurants to street food stalls - and it is enjoyed throughout the four seasons, all year round.
The ingredients for the dish include crabs, noodles and raw vegetables. It is noted that the noodles must have a bright red color, originating from Du Hang Kenh commune of Hai Phong with 700 years of tradition of making rice noodles. To create color for the noodles, rice puree will be mixed with some Gac powder or rock sugar. It must be dried under both sunlight and “dew” to have standard noodles which are not chewy or crumpled when cooked.
Crab noodles is a specialty of Hai Phong. Photo: tinhanhchungkhoan
For crabs, people will choose fatty ones; then grind them, filter the mixture to get extract, boil on low heat until crab-roe floats on the water, and finally take it out. Next, put tamarind in a pot of crab water, boil it to create the sour flavor and take it out. Shallots are fried and put on the cooked crab-roe. Prepare some vegetables such as water spinach, water mimosa and mustard greens. Put the noodles into the pot of broth until it is done, then take it out and put in a bowl with some crab-roe. You can add some toppings such as tomatoes, grilled meat in piper lolot leaves, beef and thin-sliced pork leg to enrich the flavor.
An attractive bowl of crab noodles. Photo: luhanhvietnam
Just looking at the dish and you will immediately “feel” its deliciousness by its eye-catching colors: the red-orange color of crab-roe, the bright red of tomatoes, the brown of fried shallots, the green of piper lolot leaves and so on. Different from other crab noodles, the dish from Hai Phong has chewy noodles, rich broth and crab-roe, unique flavor of grilled meat in piper lolot leaves and crunchy water spinach. The average price for a bowl of crab noodles ranges from VND 30,000 to 40,000.
Scorched rice with seafood
Scorched rice with seafood is a very famous dish in Tam Bac street of Hai Phong. It is said that in the past, there was a rich man in Hai Phong who traveled to many places and ate many delicious dishes. He was very fond of traditional dishes and was especially crazy about Ninh Binh scorched rice. He asked his chef not to make the sauce from the heart and kidney of the goat (which was a common sauce used for this dish). The new sauce had to be nutritious, fragrant and non-greasy. After 2 months of testing different ideas,, the chef finally found the sauce recipe from seafood that pleased the rich man. Since then, the scorched rice with seafood has become popular in Hai Phong. This is also the difference between scorched rice with goat meat in Ninh Binh, and scorched rice with seafood in Hai Phong.
Scorched rice with seafood is one of the famous specialties of Hai Phong. Photo: dichvunaucotainha
For the scorched rice, there is no difference between the two cooking methods, whose steps are cooking, pressing, drying and frying. The sauce of scorched rice with seafood, which is made from shrimp, squid, crab, geoduck and clam, has the unique “sweetness of the sea”. Dip a piece of scorched rice into the bowl of sauce and you will feel the wonderful blend of the sweet and fragrant flavor of the sauce and the crispiness of rice. The average price for a serving is about VND 60,000.
The seafood sauce makes the dish special. Photo: thegioiamthuc.com
Spicy bread is one of the very unique street foods of Hai Phong, which fascinates not only local people, but also tourists. The breads with two-finger size are baked on charcoal stoves, then delicious pâté will be put inside, while some people can add salted shredded pork and handmade hot chili sauce.
A special feature making this dish different from other kinds of bread is its small size, making it very easy to enjoy. Without vegetables, there are only pâté and shrimp inside, creating a strong flavor with a unique spicy taste. The price for this spicy bread is cheap, ranging from VND 5,000 - 10,000/ each one.
Spicy breads are quite small in shape, different from common ones. Photo: metrip.vn
Spicy bread is also one of Hai Phong's typical street foods. Photo: facebook Hai Phong spicy bread in Ha Long
Bloating fern-shaped cake
If Hue has a kind of bloating fern-shaped cake made from rice flour in tiny cups with a little fried shallots and shrimp, then the one in Hai Phong is completely different, which is made from rice puree steamed with pork lean mince, wood ear mushrooms and fried shallots. The dish is wrapped in banana leaves. The dipping sauce is made from broth, fish sauce and spices.
Hai Phong bloating fern-shaped cake is wrapped in banana leaves. Photo: camnanghaiphong
To enjoy the dish, people will divide the cake into 4-6 parts, then dip or sip with the sauce. Each soft and smooth piece of cake melts right at the tip of the tongue, creating an unforgettable feeling. The Hai Phong people consider this cake as a symbol of the boat - a part of the local people’s life.
The price for each cake is from VND 20,000 to 30,000.
Hai Phong bloating fern-shaped cake will be cut into several parts when eaten. Photo: monngondongian.com
When it comes to delicacies of Hai Phong, grass jelly cannot be ignored. The main ingredient of this food is a kind of forest leaf called “gang”. This type of leaves will be washed and crushed in about 15 minutes to release all the substance, then you get the extracts and remove the residue. Filter the juice carefully, and then put in a pot and cook with water, lime water and sugar. Let it be overnight and you will have a delicious grass jelly.
The grass jelly is made from “gang” leaves with a typical green color. Photo: foody
The grass jelly has a typical dark green color, together with its softness and sweetness. Enjoy this dish with some rock sugar, fresh coconut, crushed roasted peanuts or tapioca balls and diners will be immediately cooled down, especially on hot summer days. Each bowl of grass jelly is quite cheap, ranging from VND 5,000 - 15,000, so it can easily “win the heart” of tourists.
Grass jelly is usually enjoyed with rock sugar, coconut milk and tapioca balls. Photo: dulichtoday.vn
Sweet soup with coconut
Sweet soup with coconut is also one of the favorite desserts of Hai Phong. The soup includes young coconut, white tapioca balls, coconut jelly, shredded coconut meat, fresh milk and coconut milk. Coconut is often an auxiliary ingredient in Vietnamese desserts, but young coconut plays an important role in this dish. When enjoying, you will be impressed by the softness of young coconut pieces mixed with chewy tapioca balls and fatty coconut milk. This dish is extremely popular in the hot summer as it can make you cool down immediately.
The price of each bowl of sweet soup with coconut is about VND 15,000 - 20,000.
Delicious sweet soup with coconut. Photo: Kenh14