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Something in the local water makes Vietnam’s cao lau noodles special

Hoi An’s signature noodle dish is the history of the city in a bowl. The cuisines of foreign traders have been added ingredients over time but it is still quintessentially Vietnamese

Once a key trading post on the Spice Route linking the orient and the occident, the ancient riverside port of  Hoi An in central Vietnam has always been a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. It remains a honey pot for travellers – its streets are lined with higgledy piggledy wooden Japanese merchant houses, Chinese temples billow with clouds of incense and food stalls produce gutsy cooking infused with spices and singing with fresh herbs.

Cao lau is Hoi An in a bowl. Unique to the town, this noodle dish brilliantly reflects the influence of waves of traders who came here to seek their fortune.

Hoi An riverfront by night – Photo: Alamy

Legend has it that the water used to combine the noodle dough must be drawn from the town’s Ba Le well, famed for its purity. Yet perhaps even more crucially, the noodles must be homemade and hand-cut.

 

Source: The Guardian

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