If Quang noodles are the iconic dish of Quang Nam people, Cao Lau is the representative of Hoi An ancient town. That said because to make Cao Lau, it is necessary to have ingredients only available in Hoi An. So even though in the era of modernization, local specialties are carried throughout the region, Cao Lau is still a difficult case, if you want to eat delicious, you must work hard to go back to Hoi An town.
It is known that Cao Lau appeared in Hoi An around the 17th century, when Hoi An was still a busy international trading port. Some people guess that it is the interference of many cultures that has contributed to this special dish, but no one knows exactly how, because Cao Lau is neither like Japanese nor Chinese. Even the name “cao lau” was born simply because it is often chosen by guests sitting on the 2nd floor – considered wealthy people. Gradually, the service of bringing this dish upstairs has been called Cao Lau and the name of the dish.
The hardest and most sophisticated part of the Cao Lau dish is the Cao Lau. The basic steps to make these light brown Cao Lau fibers are delicious rice soaked in the wood-burning ash water of Cu Lao Cham, the rice is full of water, changes color, and then grinds with water from Ba Le well. That rice flour goes through many stages of drying, rolling, slicing and then steaming to become a high floor fiber like we usually eat now. It’s not because the processing method is too elaborate or not, but when eating Cao Lau fiber, the taste is clear, cool but also very rich and melts in the mouth.
Hoi An Cao Lau is served with char siu meat, fatty shrimp, a variety of raw vegetables and must be drizzled with a little sauce made from the water secreted in the process of meat. Each of these seemingly simple Cao Lau ingredients also has its own elaborate and unique characteristics.
For example, the previous fat shrimp, if it is correct, must be made from cleaned, dried and deep-fried pork skin. However, today, this fat shrimp dish has been replaced by the flour to make Cao Lau, only the fat shrimp will be cut into small squares about 2 knuckles, then fried until golden brown. When eating, the fatty shrimps are both fat and soaked in sauce, really irresistible. Finally, herbs from Tra Que village, which are fertilized from seaweed taken from Hoai River, have a special aroma and taste, which is the last piece to make the perfect Hoi An Cao Lau bowl.
Like Quang noodles, the bowl of Cao Lau after processing will be warm enough for other people not to get bored because the food is cold and also to enjoy the hot weather of the Central region. Mix the ingredients well, eat a piece with enough Cao Lau fiber, raw vegetables, char siu, fat shrimp to see all the fleshy – fat – bar – aromatic – rich – spicy turns out to be so harmonious and new to see. the poetic taste of Hoi An street food.
Cao Lau may not be a dish that all 10 people try, then all 10 people will like it from the first time, but almost no one will criticize this dish. More importantly, if you have fallen in love, you will not be able to find the right high floor like in Hoi An. Because with so much sophistication, how to bring Cao Lau out of Hoi An and still keep the same taste?
Cao Lau Thanh – 26 Thai Phien
High floor Lien – 21B Thai Phien