Hoi An Vermicelli

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"Cao Lau" (or Vermicelli) , at first glance, is quite similar to other kinds of noodles in Vietnamese like Quang Nam's noodles, Hue beef noodle soup, Hanoi beef noodle soup, etc. However, "Cau Lau" is very distinctive dish that can be found in Hoi An ancient town only.

Explaining about the strange name of “cao lau”, the locals said that Hoi An ancient town was a bustling international commercial port in the past. There were many merchants coming there from Japan, China, India, Netherlands, etc. They used to enjoy that dish from high position of restaurant’s upper floor. Perhaps, the name “cao lau” originated from that (“cao lau” means upper floor in English).

Process of making “cao lau” is complicated from steps of preparing ingredients. Water for cooking “cao lau” must be from Ba Le Well, which is an ancient well made by Khmer people since thousands of years ago. Noodles must be made from rice dipped in ash water (water mixed with ashes of a special kind of tree on Cu Lao Cham Island). Thus, noodles used for making “cao lau” have a unique color and flavor of ash water.

A bowl of “cao lau” is served with noodles, minced pork sauce, some slice of pork and fried pig’s skin. Before enjoy this famous specialty of Hoi An, people usually add some lemon juice, red chili and fresh vegetable (such as laksa leaves, basil leaves, lettuce, cucumber, etc.)

“Cao Lau” has become traditional dish of Hoi An’s people as well as an unique cultural feature of hidden Hoi An ancient town. If you are on a journey to Hoi An ancient town, you ought to try stunning flavor of “cao lau” to experience the authentic Hoi An’s culture.

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