This is the first entry I write in English and this entry should have been posted about more than a month ago but then there were so many things happened and I was so busy that I haven’t had enough time to complete. After all, I learn a very important lesson: Life is unexpected and out of our control… So let’s just enjoy your day, do what you wanna do and be yourself. Even if you fail, when you look back, you can be proud of yourself and you won’t feel guilty that you didn’t give it a try.
Many people asked me why I didn’t write my entries in English so that many people, not only Vietnamese, but also foreigners can read and enjoy the entries. That’s a good question and it inspired me to write this entry.
Cooking is my hobby and more than that I can cook for my lover, my family, my friends … I really love to do this, but sometimes it’s not easy to make it, especially when we still don’t have our own kitchen. You know, I always say to my friends that if I can build my own house, the most beautiful place should be KITCHEN! Now I’m still on the way to my dream … But don’t worry, I can still cook for you, if you want ;) … As Mats asked me, “Candy, so when will you cook for me and Sandrina? You are about to leave us in just one month …” I said:” Of course, I will. Why don’t you guys come to my place this weekend” … That’s it! Hehee then the deal was done like that.
My space is a small room and I live with a landlady, who never cooks (or she used to cook : ) )so I can use the kitchen as I want. However, it is too small to invite so many guests, two should be enough J … I was thinking about which dish should I cook to introduce to my foreign friends about Vietnamese food. Mats went to Sai Gon a few weeks ago and he said that he didn’t really like Vietnamese food. He was there just for 3 days but I think to know very well about any cuisine, you should spend a lot of time. It took me for 4 years to realize how much I love Thai cuisine. But then now, again this could be the last chance for me to introduce to Mats about Vietnamese cuisine… Sandrina has never tried Vietnamese food before. So … which dish should be? I thought a lot and then I decided to make to two dishes on that day. One was “Fresh Spring Roll” and the other was “Bun Thang” – Hanoi Chicken Vermicelli. I thought these two dishes can show very clear that Vietnamese food is healthy and very tiny. The taste of those dishes is impressive and it could be different from what Mats had in Sai Gon. To make these two dishes, the cook should spend more time to prepare and the eaters should also learn something. Especially with “Fresh Spring Roll”, I call it “DIY dish” … However, I will post the recipe of “Fresh Spring Roll” in another entry. This entry I will focus only on “Bun Thang”
Bun Thang is a kind of noodle which stands for Hanoi cuisine. Many people said, having this dish could help them know more about Hanoian. Hanoi cuisine is not simple, it is really finical. So look at “Bun thang”, there are more than 3 main ingredients and everything should be very tiny and well-prepared. Let’s start! Take your time and you can feel the food when you taste it ;)
- Half of the whole chicken
- 200g Dried shrimps
- 100g Vietnamese Ham ( Gio lua): I don’t have this in Singapore nor I can make it so I just use the normal ham. Though the taste is little bit different but it’s ok J
- 2 eggs
- White Radish
- Green onion, laksa leaves, ginger
- 100g Dried mushroom
- Fish sauce and Vietnamese shrimp paste.
- Vietnamese vermicelli (fresh or dry one should be ok but it should be the thin strips)
2.1. Cloth Soup: It’s very easy but remember to put all the ingredients because each of them make the soup so different from other kinds of noodle such as Pho.
- After cleaning chicken, boil them in a large pot for 15 mins. Remember to put some sliced ginger to make the soup smell good, and so does the chicken. Put the chicken into a dish to cool it down.
- Add 5-7 dried shrimps, 5-7 dried mushroom and continue to boil.
- After the chicken is cooled down, separate the meat and the bones. Put those bones (you can add big bones) to the pot and continue to boil for 10-15 mins more. Put some fish sauce and salt to taste.
2.2. Shrimp Floss: I can say that it makes the dish outstanding because of the shrimp floss. I’m sure that you will like it. So you can make a lot then use it for next time because it is dry and can be kept for a quite long time.
- Soak the rest of the dried shrimps into water for 15 mins. Wash them carefully because they may have sand inside.
- You can use your blender to make it become small (as picture) then put them in the pan: use small heat and stir it till it becomes dry. I don’t have the blender so I use a traditional way to make it buy hands ;) Still very ok but little bit take more time hehe.
2.3. Eggs: As I said above, everything in this dish is so tiny and so is the egg. To make it, you need some practice, but I’ll show how to make so tiny and thin.
- Beat 2 eggs and blend it well with some fish sauce
- Use a small pan, put some cooking oil in. Heat it up then make sure that the cooking oil is on the surface of the pan. After that, pour the cooking oil into a small bowl. You know why? To make the egg thin, you should use a very small amount of oil … So now pour some egg into the pan. Make sure that it swirls to coat the pan evenly, and cook until set. Done!! It should be very thin. Cool down and slice it into thin strips.
2.4. Pickled Radish: I’m not sure that my way is a traditional way or not but I think it is good enough, especially when we are away from Vietnam. Good thing is: this way is really fast and tasteful ;)
- Chop the white radish in to small and thin pieces. Put a tsp of salt and set aside for 15 – 20 mins
- Wash them twice to make sure there is no more salt. Actually, when you do like this, it’s a fast way to make the pickled thing.
- Put the vinegar, sugar with the ratio: 1:3 and mix the radish well. If you like, you can put chili to make a little bit spicy.
- Taste it, it should be sour, sweet, salty and spicy. Set aside for 1 hour before serving.
2.5. Others: Come on, be patient!!! It’s nearly end of the road to the final dish J
- So with the chicken, use your hand to make the meat to become thin strips. The thinner, the better.
- Cut the ham to thin strips also
- Cut the green onion and laksa leaves small. I have to say laksa leaves are very important for this dish. Without it, 50% of the dish is not the original Vietnamese dish. Believe me, try to have 2 bowls, one is with laksa leaves, the other is without, you can see the difference easily. I’m happy that I can find it very easy in Singapore.
- If you use dried vermicelli, then remember to boil it and rinse it into cold water.
Now, ready to serve ;) Put everything into a big bowl. Put the vermicelli, chicken, eggs, shrimps floss, ham, green onion and laksa leaves … See, there’s a lot of ingredients so each of those should be just a little bit, ok ;) Pour the cloth soup and now … taste it ^^
I’m sure that you will be happy and enjoy when you make it and have it by yourself hehe … because after many things you’ve done, this is the good gift you can give to anyone … So does the meaning of the dish – Bun Thang.
We had a really good time and I hope that Mats and Sandrina could feel something about Vietnamese Cuisine as well as Hanoian :X …
Good luck and be happy!!! Have a nice weekend ^^