Viet Nam News
By Minh Thu
When autumn comes, daisies give the streets of Hà Nội a poetic atmosphere. The flowers beautify the city and are used as ingredients in various wonderful dishes.
Herbalist Tô Ấn Trà says dried daisies are often used to make medicinal tea.
“Dried daisies are used widely in traditional therapies for coughs, bronchitis, disorders of the liver and kidneys, swelling and as a blood purifier,” he said.
Today, more and more people are using fresh daisies as an ingredient in daily meals thanks to its medicinal benefits, scent and taste.
Bún hoa cúc (daisy noodle soup) recently created a phenomenon among gourmands in Hà Nội.
Located on Thái Hà Street, Hoa Cúc Quán is crowded from 7am to 8pm and serves daisy noodle soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Though it sounds like a vegetarian dish, it is actually for meat lovers.
The dish originates from Yunnan, China, with the main ingredients noodles, charsiu pork, Chinese sausage and fresh daisy petals.
Nguyễn Vân Anh, owner of the restaurant, said when the dish was adopted in Việt Nam, it became a combination of the Chinese original and Vietnamese bún thang (noodle soup with threads of chicken, pork rolls, mushrooms and dried turnip).
A full version of daisy noodle soup includes yellow daisy petals, noodles, spring onions, charsiu pork, chicken and slices of pork rolls.
Pig bones are cooked for eight hours for the broth. Anh said her customers often empty the bowl including every drop of the broth.
“The dish with daisy petals seems to be strange and amazing for many people,” she said.
The big bowl of colourful noodles is eye-catching and wins people’s hearts at first sight. The elegant fragrance of daisy dissolves with the scent of spring onions, mushrooms and meat, giving gourmands a cosy feeling.
Anh was right. When I had finished everything solid in the bowl, I tipped it up to slurp down the tasty broth.
Anh shared a tip that she washed the daisy petals carefully and soaked them in lemonade to decrease the bitterness.
While fresh daisy petals are used to make the main course, dried daisies are used for desserts.
For chè hoa cúc (sweet daisy soup), the dried daisies, dried longan and red apples are soaked in warm water to make them soft.
The broth is cooked from sugarcane or honey to create the sweetness. Then longan, red apples and fresh lotus seeds are cooked together until they are stewed. The daisies are added at the last step.
Another cousin of the dessert is daisy jelly with dried daisies. The ingredients are cooked in water with jelly. Sugarcane and honey are used as sweetness.
Autumn is considered the best time of year of Hà Nội thanks to the cool weather. To enjoy autumn to the fullest, make sure you eat some from daisies, the specialty of this season. — VNS