Cao Lau – The pride of Hoi An cuisine

There is an obvious truth that anyone who has ever come to Hoi An has definitely tasted this delicious specialty! 

Cao Lau Hoi An

Cao Lau Hoi An

Discussing dishes in the ancient town of Hoi An, no one can skip the Cao Lau. On fairly cold Tet Holiday (Vietnamese New Year), it is not difficult for us to see old eateries, stewardesses and the "Cao Lau" in the menu. Cao Lau has long been mentioned as the typical food contributing to the soul of the cuisine still lingers old stature of Hoi An.

In essence, what is a Cao Lau? It is a noodle that has long been considered as one of the must-eat dishes in Hoi An. This food has yellow noodles, served with shrimp, pork, and vegetables. Just like Quang noodle, Cao Lau is eaten with very little broth. A special feature of this Vietnam cuisine is the yellow noodles, which are mixed with the ash wood, which is taken from the Cham Island.

The origin of the name "Cao Lau"

A Cao Lau restaurant

One of Cao La restaurants in Hoi An

According to the local people who are living in Hoi An for a long time, Cao Lau has appeared in the old town since the 17th century, when Hoi An port was established and Lord Nguyen allowed foreign merchant ships to trade here. Although the Japanese have been in Hoi An before, the new Chinese are the longest anchor character on this “age-old” land.

Cao Lau is neither a vermicelli (rice noodles) nor a beef noodle soup (called Vietnamese Pho). This dish is considered a mixed dish, only appeared in Hoi An, Da Nang and Hue. Cao Lau is usually sold in the two-storey restaurants, on which hang red lanterns. Customers come here not only for eating but also enjoying the delicate aroma of ancient dishes. Besides, they also have the opportunity to be satisfied with the peaceful air and feel relax in the ancient town.

Hoian Ancient Town

Hoian - ancient town

The name "Cao Lau" is always a question for inbound or outbound travelers whenever experiencing the ancient features of Hoi An. This kind of Vietnam cuisine is not native to China, nor to Japan. It can be said that this is a composite of many ethnic groups. In addition, this interesting name may originate from the Chinese, it means “the finest of food”. The wealthy people when going to the restaurants in Hoi An often choose to sit on the floor, this dish is familiar to "let’s go upstairs" (Cao means: high and Lau means upstairs). Therefore, to make it shorter, people usually call it “upstairs” (Cao Lau) instead of the long sentence.

Coming to Hoi An, thrill to the gastronomic soul of the old town

Although there are some similarities with Quang style noodles, Cao Lau is a much more elaborate dishes. To make the color of noodle yellow and delicious, we have to use ashes cooked from marinated rice in Cham island to create a new crispy and special fluff. The water mill must be taken from Ba Le well, which is known for its non-alum, cool water. In order to make it more scrumptious and flavorful, people usually add a little pigskin or fried and crispy noodles.

Cao Lau noodles are yellow or brown. What makes it special? It doesn’t include broth, but rather a flesh, fatty, greasy greens, pork fat. To make fried pork, local people usually opt for pork boiled lean meat, marinated spices and the special sauce called “five flavors”. Pork fat is also an exotic raw material, made of crispy pork skin, now replaced by high-fiber flour. In addition to “transform” to aroma flavor, which is also a bit like Quang style noodles, the great cook also added roasted peanuts. These dishes are placed on above of Cao Lau bowl. When the sauce is poured on the bottom, who likes to eat flavorsome can add a little more home-made fish sauce.

Cham Island

Cham island in Hoian

Stepping out of Hoi An ancient land, the Cao Lau has changed a little more, the ancient atmosphere also faded away. Only in Hoi An, this Vietnamese cuisine has enough flavor of a delicate and antique central dish. It is said that the well water of Ba Le and the ashes of Cham island and Tra Que new vegetables make this dish typical.

On top of above, with innovative ways and means of cooking, chefs have created a variety of delicious dishes catering to the needs of the people. Especially, Hoian cooking classes will create the culinary characteristics of the dishes that is the Cao Lau of Hoi An with new style according to the original taste of Quang will help you enjoy one of the special dishes of Vietnam by foreigners. This dish is considered frugal, suitable for many people's taste. When you travel to Vietnam, remember to go to the Hoian local kitchen to try this!

Hoian cooking class

Last but not least, the followings are the suggestions for the best Cao Lau restaurants:

+ Thanh Cao Lau, 26 Thai Phien street

+ Khong Gian Xanh Cao Lau, 687 Hai Ba Trung Street

+ 2 Toan Cao Lau, 27 Phan Chau Trinh street, etc

hoianreviews hopes you guys will enjoy your trip as well as the pride of Hoi An – Cao Lau.

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