Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cha Ca La Vong

Pizza in New York, a croissant in Paris, fish and chips in London. Cliches or must do's for any tourist? When it comes to Hanoi, every guide book will steer you to Cha Ca La Vong for the one and only dish (there is no menu) Cha Ca fish.

As you can see, it's a turmeric scented white fish cooked in oil over an open flame at the table, with batches of dill and scallions. It's served with bowls of rice noodles, scallions, cilantro, hot chiles, peanuts, and if you like a thick pink sludge of shrimp sauce. You mix it up in your bowl as you like, and enjoy it, just like everyone else in the place. It will cost you less than $4 per person.

Cha Ca La Vong has been around since 1871 and been run by 5 successive generations of the Doan family. Even the street was named for the dish. Sure, it's a touristy thing to do. But it tastes great and is a lot of fun too.

Cha Ca La Vong
14 Cha Ca Street