fried fish hanoi style
We spent Saturday morning at Silk Village which was recovering from the floods that plagued most of Hanoi that week. After doing our part for the Hanoi economy by indulging in many of its fine silk goods, we were starving.
This dish is now tied with pho as my favorite Vietnamese food. I hope I’m able to recreate it at home some day or find some place that serves it. This dish is a Hanoi speciality and they make it with a fish that is only found in the area. If you find yourself in Hanoi make sure to order yourself some cha ca thang long.
They start you off with a super fragrant bowl of green onion and dill (oh man, I love dill), a plate of basil, a smaller bowl of the white part of the green onion, and unsalted peanuts (which both Joao and I thought were appetizers but are actually part of the meal).
My favorite part: fermented shrimp paste (or if you’re Filipino – bagoong). This one is watered down which serves our purposes nicely. If you follow the blog closely, this is bagoong’s third appearance. In case it’s not clear, I heart it. I was happy to see it on the table but Joao and Ashley found the flavor to be too strong.
Where’s the fish?
You get a little pan that’s kept bubbling by the stuff they use to keep chaffing dishes hot. The fish is lightly breaded and pre-fried but is now frying/simmering in a gingery buttery concoction. Once the simmer is going you dump the bowl of green onions and dill on top.
You can’t imagine how delicious this smells. The dill, the ginger, the green onions.
Shovel some rice noodles (from your own personal stash) into your small rice bowl. Add in some of the white part of the green onion, throw in a few peanuts, and then take a generous scoop of the fish and dill/green onion mixture. Pour a bit of the fermented shrimp paste on top and give it a little mix. When you take a bite, dip the fish into the salt + lime juice mixture that they have on the side. Yuuuummmm.
This post is making me hungry.