Monday, November 15, 2010

Good Eats: Ha Noi, Vietnam

It has been two weeks since we landed in Vietnam. We have been moving north during this time - from Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An, to Hue, to Ninh Binh - and have now settled in our last stop in Vietnam, Ha Noi.

Ha Noi is electric, with the fast moving motor scooters weaving and honking through the narrow streets of old town and creating a frenzied musical soundtrack for the city. The markets and street vendors are endless; the streets are packed with vendors selling their prized dishes - pho, com, or bun. We have gladly taken up the challenge, picked up our chop sticks, and eaten our way throughout the city. We found a real gem when we stumbled upon Ly Van Phuc street, or as it is know by the local HaNoians, "chicken street". This is a narrow alley filled with open air grills cooking nothing but chicken parts marinated in honey. The aroma is enticing and will lure any drooling carnivore to take a seat in the nearest plastic chair and start calling out orders of wings, thighs, and feet - oh my! The heavenly chicken was served with the most delicious banh my (crusty french baguette) glazed with honey and toasted lightly on the grill pan. In addition, cucumbers quickly pickled in quat (similar to lime) juice, and khoai (potato) skewers accompany the juicy yet crispy chicken. All the delicious morsels are dipped into a lime, salt, and chile mixture and eaten off the skewer. This lime dipping sauce has become my new favorite condiment - salty, spicy and tart - cutting the richness of grilled chicken. It is addictive and will be making many appearances on my table once I get home. In the meantime, here is the recipe so that you can make it in your home.

Salt-Lime-Chile condiment
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 small red chile (Thai, serrano, or jalapeno), thinly sliced

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