The Street Food of Hai Phong (part 1)17 May 2018
Located near the city of Quang Ninh, Hai Phong is often overlooked for its more popular cousin Ha Long city. However, while Ha Long city has Ha Long Bay and numerous tourist spots, Hai Phong has its own strength: its cuisine. Coming to Hai Phong, you will find unique, never-seen-before dishes that will sure to satisfy the most adventurous and skeptical foodie. Below are some of the most coveted dishes that Hanoians can’t help but hunt down whenever they set foot in Hai Phong.
1. Banh da cua (Crab Banh da)
Banh da cua is the most famous specialty in Hai Phong, and also one of the dishes that makes up the reputation of the Port’s cuisine.
The noodle is flat, similar to Pho, but broader, heartier, chewier and brown in color. The noodle of banh da cua is noticeably more flavorful than Pho, and it doesn’t get mushy as easily as Pho. Banh da cua comes in two forms: dry (tron, meaning ‘mix’, in which you would eat it like a noodle salad) and wet (nuoc, meaning ‘stock’, a more traditional brothy arrangement like Pho). Each form is delicious in its own way. On a hot day, many locals prefer the dry Banh da cua, and in the cold winter wind, a hot bowl of Banh da cua nuoc helps warm up one’s body like no other. You can request as many types of toppings as you’d like, such as crab meat, freshwater crab paste, be be, fish cake, fried tofu, greens etc.
2. Crab Hotpot
Crab hotpot in Hai Phong, which is especially freshwater crab hot pot is another popular dish. The specialness lies in the making process, which gives crab hot pot here a taste that is unmatched by crab hot pot anywhere else.
The stock is extremely rich and flavorful, with lots of freshwater crab paste and crab meat. In addition to meat, you can also eat hot pot with fresh seafood as this is readily available in Hai Phong. In addition to ít delicious taste, crab hot pot in Hai Phong is also much cheaper than other places.
3. Spicy bread
Hai Phong spicy bread has recently gained popularity in the past few years. Hanoians coming to Hai Phong always make some time (and stomach space) for spicy bread, and when they return, they also have to buy a few dozen as gifts.
In Hai Phong, there are many shops selling spicy bread. There is little difference between these shops, most of the difference lies in the pate. After the bread is toasted and becomes crispy, the shop owner will stuff the pate inside, sometimes even pork floss, then a little Vietnamese chili sauce (tuong ot). The chili sauce served with this spicy bread is not the usual chili sauce but homemade. The chili sauce is a little bit thinner, the spicy taste is also stronger, with an unique flavor that is not found anywhere else.