Hanoi – Heaven for foodies hinh anh 1Making young green rice in Me Tri, Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - With a wide range of typical dishes, the capital city of Hanoi has lured more and more visitors, especially foodies, from all parts of the world.

The city’s suburbs are home to many villages with long history of creating delicious dishes. The food is usually associated with its hometown’s name such as Thanh Tri steamed rolls, Phu Thuong sticky rice, Vong village com, Phu Do Ngan noodles, Lo Khe chung cake and Uoc Le pork sausage. Vietnamese culinary villages are rooted in its households. The tradition is kept alive by passing down recipes through generations, which are keys to the food’s identity.

Recently, we went to Uoc Le village, Thanh Oai district to experience the atmosphere of making the popular Vietnamese pork sausage. The making of Uoc Le sausage has been around for about 500 years. During the feudal period, the dish could only be seen on banquet tables of the elite. During the French colonialism, Uoc Le sausage made some restaurants in Hanoi very popular, such as Tan Viet in the Old Quarter and Tan Loi in Ha Dong. In 1958, the Tuyen Thanh sausage brand of Uoc Le was exported to France. During the subsidy period, Uoc Le sausage was considered a luxury.

Hoang Ba Hop's family is well-known in Uoc Le village, which has preserved and developed the sausage-making profession for three generations. Hoang Thi Oanh is the third generation of the family that has continued the family tradition and established the famous Gio Cha Xuan Huong cooperative in Hanoi which now owns 4 production facilities. Xuan Huong products have been certified by Hanoi's One Commune One Product (OCOP) system and is distributed to supermarkets and traditional markets in Hanoi. It also is a delicious choice for a souvenir for many international tourists visiting the capital.

Today, Uoc Le village has about 500 households making sausages. Villagers keep alive the profession and have expanded its products nationwide. Many people living in the US and France still make spring rolls for overseas Vietnamese communities.

With the same enduring vitality, Lo Khe chung cake village in Dong Anh is also an important product. Chung cake, which is associated with the roots of the Vietnamese people, is an ever-present offering during the Hung Kings’ festival and during the Tet holiday. Welcoming visitors to Madame Lanh’s chung cake cooperative gives one a busy and bustling working vibe. “My family has been making chung cakes for four generations. Chung cakes are the pride of Lo Khe village and the pride of farmers who have continued with their profession,” said Madame Lanh, head of the cooperative. Currently, the brand of Lo Khe chung cakes is certified 3-stars by the OCOP system.

Closer with Hanoians geographically is the sticky rice of Phu Thuong village. Phu Thuong sticky rice has a history of several hundred years, but it was only in 2017 that it was officially recognized as a brand and given a geographical indication. In 2018, the Association of Phu Thuong sticky rice village was born, affirming the cultural value of the village that is located right in the heart of the capital. Currently, Phu Thuong village has about 600 families making sticky rice. “I have developed a chain of sticky rice shops and applied IT to make Phu Thuong sticky rice more accessible to international tourists. My family has welcomed many delegations from the US, UK, France and Australia. They went to our village to learn how to make sticky rice,” said Chien, a young man of the family that has four generations making this delicacy.

Hanoi has two well-known places to make com (young rice): Vong village (Cau Giay) and Me Tri (Nam Tu Liem). Com is made from young rice through a complex multi-stage process. If you go to Vong village during com season, the aroma of young rice will welcome visitors right from the moment of their arrival at the village gate. Visitors can experience the very interesting process of making com in households here, where Vong villagers still keep the tradition of making com entirely by hand. The charm of Vong village com and Me Tri com, following in the footsteps of street vendors, has captivated many international food lovers.

Going beyond the village space, suburban food has come to the streets of Hanoi and formed chains of street food culture where anyone can find something that satisfies their taste buds. The culinary division of CNN recently came to Vietnam and introduced Hanoi cuisine to the world through a series of reports.

It can be said with absolutely no exaggeration that Hanoi is the cultural space of the Vietnamese dish that has made global name: Pho. Pho now has its’ place in many parts of the world, but Hanoi will always have and always will be the place where diners can enjoy its most delicate flavor.

No one knows for sure the exact time when pho appeared in Hanoi. It is a fact that even the oldest Hanoians have grown up with the taste of pho. The dish also has significant presence in literature and poetry. It is not only a delicious and nutritious dish but also a symbol of Hanoi's sophisticated culinary culture.

Many foreigners who come to Vietnam find many opportunities to enjoy rural dishes right on the streets of Hanoi. Quan Ngon (18 Phan Boi Chau) is a reasonable choice for visitors where they can experience many traditional delicacies that have made Hanoi's identity such as, bun rieu cua (Vietnamese crab noodle soup), chicken pho, Thanh Tri steamed rolls, com cake, Vietnamese sausage and Quan Ganh day cake.

A walk around Hanoi's Old Quarter is all visitors need to find dining places that will satisfy their senses. It is no coincidence that Hanoi delicacies are internationally honored. Pho Hanoi was voted at position 28/50 on CNN's list of the world's best dishes; bun cha was voted as one of the 10 best street foods in National Geographic by tourists; bun rieu cua was shared by Traveler Magazine as one of the 21 most delicious dishes in the world; cha ruoi has been introduced by AFP news agency as one of Hanoi's winter favorite specialties. This confirms the cultural value of Hanoi cuisine on the international tourist map./.