Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a must-visit destination for globetrotters. This ancient city is famous for exquisite delicacies and unique traditions. Such delicious dishes have become cultural cuisine, which contains the culinary essence of Hanoi. If you are making a list of these, do not forget to spare a room for “Cha Ca” (Chả Cá – Grilled Fish). The special taste of “Cha Ca” will leave on tourists a deep impression with the unforgettable flavor, elegance and sophistication of Hanoi cuisine.
“Cha Ca” was first served in Hanoi during the French domination by Doan family and its recipe has been passed down from generations to generations for many decades now. Fish are diced into medium pieces and marinated with a mixture of turmeric powder, galangal, sugar, fish sauce, and pepper. This delicacy requires not only fresh ingredients but also a very attentive maker. After grilling over charcoal fried pan until the fish is well cooked with a golden color and soft crust, you can hardly resist the mouth-watering smell and the eye-catching look.
What surprised me as I first tasted was the complexity of this dish. It is not only in choosing the right fish but also in preparing all the fancy spices. With a light touch of saffron, cooking oil and fish sauce, which is seasoned in certain amounts, the chef gives “Cha Ca” a “secret” softly fragrant taste, not fishy but gently sweet reaching into my heart. “Cha Ca” must be served hot with crushed peanut, vermicelli noodles but it will not be completed without a touch of fresh dill. The table is set with a small bowl for each person. In the center of the table is a burner with a medium-sized pan for grilling the fish. You are likely to be taken aback by the fact that a simple dish as “Cha Ca” is served with several side dishes such as shrimp sauce, fish sauce, noodles, cilantro, and peanuts. In fact, the whole nine yards paint a complete and balanced piece of art, with each of them is deemed indispensable.
To enjoy this, you put everything into a small bowl altogether, pour a little bit of shrimp sauce on top or dip in it the sauce with a tiny slice of chili. Hard as it may be to believe, the taste is profoundly appetizing, heavenly delish and scrumptious that guarantees you an amazing experience during your stay in Hanoi, Vietnam.