Cao Lau is a unique dish in Hoi An. It has appeared since the 17th century when Nguyen Lord opened Hoi An trading port. It is not a Chinese or Japanese dish. Cao Lau in Hoi An is a mixture of different cultures in Vietnam.
1. Why is it called “Cao Lau”?
In the past, only the rich can get to the higher floor of a restaurant. They would order the best dishes. So, the name “Cao Lau”, which is literally translated into “high floor”.
2. Cao Lau – a unique dish in Hoi An
This dish is made with noodles, pork, and local greens. Noodles of Cao Lau are carefully made from local new sticky rice. It is hand-cut and then cooked three times with firewood. It is invented by the Chinese but similar to Japanese wheat-based udon noodles. Water used to soak rice must be taken from wells in the undisclosed ancient Cham well, just outside the town.
The pork is stir-fried, marinated in star anise and cassia bark. It is sliced thin and cooked in the traditional Chinese method known as “Char siu”. Dry pancakes must be thick with much sesame on the surface. Toppings include peanuts, and bean sprouts making this dish hard to resist. This dish is eaten with lots of herbs and vegetables which greatly enhance its flavors. Cao Lau is surprisingly unique dish in Hoi An.
3. The best place to eat Cao Lau
Cao Lau is available in every corner of Hoi An. Here are some of the best places to enjoy:
- Thanh Cao Lau, 26 Thai Phien Street, Hoi An.
- Ty Cao Lau – Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoi An.
- Cao Lau Ba Be – Tran Phu, Hoi An.
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