Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cha Ca La Vong, Hanoi

Cha Ca La Vong in Hanoi serves only one dish: cha ca grilled fish. It's a dish I've seen on lots of menus around Hanoi but apparently it originated at Cha Ca La Vong and they've been serving nothing but this one dish for the last 135 years.

Cha Ca La Vong receives very mixed reviews on internet travel forums with some diners pronouncing it the best fish they've eaten in Vietnam and others calling a complete rip-off served up by incredibly rude staff. We decided to give it a go for ourselves and enjoyed the experience! I have to agree about the service though!

To avoid any confusion as to what we would be served, this no-nonsense sign was slapped down on the table in front of us:

Then the components of our meal slowly arrived at our table - vermicelli rice noodles, a big bowl of dill and skinny spring onions, roasted peanuts, herbs (vietnamese mint I think), a bowl of dressing (fish sauce, rice wine & chilli perhaps?) and finally, a sizzling pan of tumeric spiced fish atop a flaming burning.

From what I gathered from the waitress's gestures and watching other diners, we were to tip the bowl of greens (spring onions & dill) into the pan immediately, let it sizzle a bit then serve over the noodles and garnish with the dressing, herbs and peanuts.

I've seen this dish translated as "grilled fish" but its more deep-fried as it comes sizzling and spitting in a centimeter of tumeric-tainted oil. The generous serving of greens went a (very) small way towards negating the greasiness of the fish but it is an oil, salty, dish.

If you take it for what it is and don't get hung about the lack of service or whether your meal is worth 120,000 dong (only about NZ$7-8!) it's a fun way to eat. It's also the closest I've come to cooking my own dinner in awhile and that's quite novel in itself!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...