By Hà Nguyễn & Hoàng Hồ
Differing from spring rolls in the north, cuốn đập Đà Nẵng (boiled pork and other ingredients wrapped in rice paper) is well-known nationwide for its unique taste and aroma, said culinary expert Lê Kim Chi.
Chi, from Đà Nẵng, said making the dish is simple because it is a cold dish but to ensure its great taste one needs to select the best ingredients.
Rice paper should be made from fragrant rice which is dried before being ground into rice powder. It should not break when wrapped, while the pork should be chosen from heo cỏ, because this kind of pig has a thinner skin and less fat.
MIX OF FLAVOURS: Cuốn đập Đà Nẵng (boiled pork and other ingredients wrapped in rice paper) is a special treat at Ngon Garden in Hà Nội. Photo Trương Vị
“You should boil the pork and let it soak in the boiling water for 10 minutes so the fat looks white and soft. Pork cooked over a fire would dry out,” Chi said.
Apart from pork, there are more than 10 different fresh ingredients used in this dish. They include cucumber, fresh banana, green beans, lettuce, mint and several others.
“These ingredients give the dish its distinctive flavour,” she said.
Equally important is a bowl of dipping sauce locally known as mắm nêm. It is also a specialty of Đà Nẵng. The sauce is made from fermented cá cơm (anchovies) in salt and ground roasted rice (locally known as thính), Chi told Việt Nam News.
TRADITION: Tré Bà Đệ (specialty of Đà Nẵng made by Mrs Đệ more than 60 years ago), is also a tasty ingredient in Hà Nội's cuốn đập Đà Nắng. Photo Trương Vị
After being fermented for three months, the mắm can be eaten with popular dishes in Việt Nam’s three regions, such as gỏi cuốn tôm thịt (pork and shrimp, noodle and herbs wrapped in thin rice paper) and cakes made from rice and glutinous rice powder, she said.
Mắm nêm is mixed with pineapple, garlic, lemon and chili dipped in cuốn đập, make the dish an unforgettable part of visiting Đà Nẵng, Chi said, noting that there are many shops that sell the dish, but each has its own secret to create mắm nêm.
The dish is a must-try at Quán Ăn Ngon chain’s Ngon Garden Restaurant in Hà Nội.
Restaurant owner Phạm Bích Hạnh told Việt Nam News that before introducing the dish, she visited Đà Nẵng to learn how to cook it from Chi, and invited her to work as a culinary expert in Hà Nội.
Hạnh said she has added more ingredients in her cuốn đập Đà Nẵng in Hà Nội . They are pork leg, shrimp, nem Phùng, and tré Bà Đệ.
CRISPY: Nem Phùng (specialty of Phùng Village in Hà Nội ) is made of pork and pork skin cut into thin threads. Photo Trương Vị
Nem Phùng is made of pork and pork skin cut into thin strips and mixed with thính while tré Bà Đệ is also a specialty of Đà Nẵng made by Mrs Đệ more than 60 years ago. Its ingredients are lean pork, bacon, and boiled pork skin cut into thin slices then mixed with minced galangal root and garlic, salt and also thính and fermented in Đệ’s own way.
“I ordered the original tré Bà Đệ from her only daughter to serve to our customers. Many of them said they love the combination,” Hạnh said.
Hoàng Thu Thủy from Hai Bà Trưng District said she likes the dish at Ngon Garden.
“The dish is a very good combination between the tastes of Đà Nẵng and Hà Nội cuisine. The boiled pig leg is crispy while the fresh shrimp is sweet. Together with a number of fresh herbs wrapped in special rice paper and dipped in mắm nêm, it is so enjoyable that I couldn’t stop eating it,” she said.
Ngon Garden’s dish is not only a street snack, but has becomes a specialty for not only locals but also foreigners visiting Hà Nội, said Hạnh.
Meanwhile, Thủy says if a diner doesn’t have the chance to go to Đà Nẵng to try cuốn đập, Ngon Garden is a perfect alternative. VNS