A taste of Cambodia in Vietnam
Num banh choc, a fish and rice noodle soup from Cambodia, is gaining in popularity in southern Vietnam
Num banh choc, a fish and rice noodle soup from Cambodia, has won a place in the hearts of many in Ho Chi Minh City, the bustling southern metropolis crowded with food lovers.
The fish noodle soup is a breakfast staple for people from the land of Angkor Wat. The dish, which includes freshwater fish and herbs, reflects the Cambodian fondness for fish, one of the country’s cheap and abundant sources of food.
The dish gets its distinctive flavor from prahok, a type of fermented fish paste, commonly used in Cambodian cuisine as a seasoning or a condiment.
A bowl of num banh choc not only satisfies the taste buds but also the eyes of gourmets.
It is consisted of a subtle yellow fish and coconut milk broth with fresh rice noodles, paper-thin chopped banana blossom, cucumber and cabbage and topped off with prahok.
A wide variety of fresh vegetables, herbs and even flowers, including watercress, snake beans and water lily stalks, are also used to add more color and flavor to the sweet, sour and salty fish broth.
The noodles are served with fillets – and the head and guts - of freshwater fish. The fish guts are thoroughly cleaned with salt before being cooked to maintain their crunchy texture.
Fish guts are definitely an acquired taste but are also the most-ordered extra ingredient at num banh choc restaurants.
Num banh choc is on the menu of several restaurants in HCMC’s “Cambodian Town” in District 10.
The Tu Xe Restaurant has been a familiar destination for num banh choc fans since it opened in 1972. The owner of the restaurant is a 74-year-old Vietnamese woman who learned the art of Cambodian cuisine while living in Cambodia.
More and more Vietnamese visit Cambodian Town to sample the rich tastes of cuisine from neighboring Cambodia. Cambodian cuisine is said to be influenced by Chinese and Thai cooking, although Cambodian dishes are not as spicy as Thai food.
Some housewives even travel to Cambodian Town to buy ingredients to create their own Vietnamese versions of Num banh choc at home.
Another Cambodian dish, Hu tieu nam vang (Phnom Penh Noodle Soup), is also near the top of the list of favorite breakfast foods of southern Vietnamese.
Hu tieu nam vang is most often prepared with shrimp, pork, squid, fried spring onions and fresh herbs, although different variations can include pork liver and wonton dumplings.
The increasing popularity of cuisine from Cambodia and other countries is unarguably a reflection of the welcoming nature of HCMC.
The city embraces different cultures and people from all around the world, making it an attractive destination for all adventurous spirits who seek to explore the diversity of the world’s cultures and cuisines.
Source : vietnewsonline.vn