The Street Food of Hai Phong part 217 May 2018
1. Chinese Banh Duc
In northern Vietnam, banh duc is a cake made from either non-glutinous rice flour or corn flour. It is white in color and has a soft texture and mild flavour. Although it may be eaten on its own, it may also be served hot, accompanied by steamed meat or mushrooms.
Chinese banh duc might be unknown to Hanoians, but it is a common dish for people in Hai Phong. A bowl of chinese banh duc comprises of bite sized banh duc, fried meat and shrimp, diced green papaya, and chili vinegar fish sauce is poured on top. Depending on your taste, you can choose to have it spicy or not.
(Image source: kenh14)
2. Crab spring roll
If you’re already familiar with the northern spring rolls, the crab spring rolls of Hai Phong is an edition of the iconic dish with a little twist on it: instead of ground pork, the crab spring rolls mainly use seafood (such as shrimp, crab etc.), in addition to the bean sprouts and glass noodle. The spring roll is rolled into a square block, and is also thicker, usually with several layers of rice papers so that the roll does not split open when frying.
As Hai Phong is close to the sea, the seafood used to make spring rolls is usually fresh seafood. The addition of seafood gives the spring rolls a fresh, unique umami taste of the sea without it being overpowering.
3. Stir fried gia be
Stir fried gia be (literally sea sprouts) - a name that sounds strange enough to make people curious and want to try. Stir fried gia be is not something too luxurious, but if you have to Hai Phong, you should try to find this unique dish. This dish is quite popular and is often sold at the food court at markets.
Gia be is a shellfish that is quite similar to clam. When separated from the shell, gia be resembles a bean sprout, hence the name. Gia be when stir fried is chewy and crunchy, soaked with the sauce and the aroma of basil.
4. Banh beo
A bánh bèo (literally "water fern cake") is a variety of small steamed rice cake or rice pancake in Vietnamese cuisine. It is white in color and typically features a dimple in the center, which is filled with savory ingredients including chopped, dried or fresh shrimp, scallions, mung bean paste, crispy fried shallots, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and oil. It is considered most typical of the cuisine of Huế, the ancient royal capital located in the center of Vietnam.
(Image: a traditional Hue banh beo)
Different from the Hue banh beo, Hai Phong banh beo made from lean ground pork, sauteed with wood-ear mushroom, jicama and French fried onions. This mixture is then stirred into the the banh beo dough and steamed in banana leaves.
The Hai Phong banh beo is then served with bone broth,with a bit of fish sauce and spices. Especially, you can also order more cha (Vietnamese meat loaf) to bulk up the dish and fill your stomach.