Often it's little more than an atmospheric locale that draws me a to a particular vendor or restaurant:
Such was the case with the ancient dining room of this streetside stall in the central Vietnamese city of Hue. Practically before I really even knew what was being served, I'd taken a seat and placed an order.
It was a few seconds later that I learned that I'd be eating bánh canh cá lóc:
Not knowing exactly what this was, I watched with wonder how patties of a pasty white dough were rolled onto PVC pipes:
Thin slices of the dough were chopped off directly into the broth:
forming the noodles of the dish (shown at the top of this post). I found them a bit chalky, but liked the broth and other ingredients, which included fillets of snakehead fish (the epynomous cá lóc), oily and orange from having been fried with turmeric, chunks of giờ, a type of Vietnamese sausage, a single quail's egg and heaps of green onion.
The sides, present on every table, included banana leaf packages of delicious giờ and nem (fermented pork sausage), and tiny hard-boiled quail's eggs, which were meant to be dipped in a salt and chili mixture. I grew to love these sides in Vietnam, and they made every meal a fun experience.
And if, like me, you're feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of bánh in Vietnam, have a look at this handy online Banh Guide.
Bánh Canh Cá Lóc Hùng Vương, Hue 4pm-late
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