05/07/2011

Hoi An specialties

Aside from the shopping, Hoi An cuisine is one thing that makes the place known all over the world, even in history.

 

Since centuries past, the port of Hoi An has been frequented by traders from the Orient and the Mediterranean. With the rich blend of its own taste and the influences from other nations, Hoi An today has developed and mastered a unique local cuisine that stands out from the others. Hoi An cuisine is a mixture of its own, local flavors and the cooking techniques of other countries. Its few famous dishes of cao lau (noodles with sliced pork, bean sprouts and herbs), mi Quang (Quang Nam-style noodles), and banh bao, banh vat (white rose-steamed rice dumplings with pork and shrimp inside) for example, originated from the countries of China and Japan. 

 

But as Vietnam becomes a popular tourist destination through time, local chefs want to preserve and improve their authentic taste which is one of the reasons the country has been known for in the first place. Trinh Diem Vy is one such chef successful in introducing Hoi An’s traditional cuisine to international tourists. Running four restaurants, all notable, and teaching cooking lessons, Vy is a perfect example of a “true” Vietnamese dedicated in preserving its local, unique and beautiful creations to the rest of the world. Vy specializes in simple but delicious summer treats. One particular dish she has become known for is the goi du du, or green papaya salad. Ordinarily, it is a blend of julienned unripe papaya, chilies, and carrots sprinkled with crushed peanuts and sesame seeds.

 

But Vy takes her salad to a whole new level by adding local mint (rau ram), anise basil (rau hung que), coriander (rau mui), and green shiso (rau kinh gio) into the mixture, making her goi du du unlike any other. Hoi An is known in Vietnam for growing some of the best herbs in the country. As such, having herbs in almost all of their food, especially in salads, is the signature of authentic Hoi An dishes. To add even more flavor and color to the meal, the fresh herbs and fruits are mixed with a strong yet delicious blend of scallion oil, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, and crushed chilies. Green papaya salad has fast become known as a favorite appetizer in special occasions such as weddings, meetings, New Year feast and other gatherings all over the country.

 

Certain ingredients may be changed or added into the famous dish depending on the region or taste of the people. But once you’ve tasted goi du du Hanoi-style, you may not want it any other way.