Hanoi food tour – The only type of cold noodles that you have to try
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If you ever try noodles while taking a Hanoi food tour, you will have to admit that most of them are served hot. So what if there is one kind of noodles that is served cold?
Bun Oc Nguoi – A special type of noodles in Hanoi
You may have heard of cold noodles in Korea or Japan. However, there are very few types of them in Vietnam. And the one that you are going to find out today is the Cold Snail Noodles or “Bun Oc Nguoi” in Vietnamese.
Bun oc nguoi
In fact, some people even say that it is probably the only cold noodles left in the capital of Vietnam. Therefore, Bun Oc Nguoi can be considered an exceptional Hanoi street food that all travelers need to try.
Bun Oc Nguoi at O Quan Chuong Gate – The dish that goes with Hanoi citizens’ life
There is a reason why you cannot find various restaurants serving Bun Oc Nguoi in Hanoi or other places in Vietnam. It is the fishy taste and smell of snails when they are cold. And not all cooks have courage as well as patience to turn them into an attractive dish, except for the owner the street restaurant at O Quan Chuong Gate.
An elegant food
Bun Oc Nguoi is a simple and delicate food, which resembles the lifestyle of the ancient Hanoi people. Although its ingredients can be found everywhere in markets, the owner of the restaurant has to be meticulous in choosing and processing them.
Because the cold and fishy snails are hard to enjoy, not any type of them can be processed. The snails that are picked out must be ivory-white and only eat the moss inside crevices on mountains. Before being served, they are dipped into the salt water so that the viscous layer is wiped out.
Ivory white snails
Then, the cook will steam them with the vinegar made from the golden flower glutinous rice of Van Village. Only by using this method can the sweetness and greasiness of the snails remain. Also, the fishy smell can disappear without making much effort.
The owner of the restaurant has succeeded in preserving that flavor and bringing it to Hanoi connoisseurs. The snails that she serves are carried all the way from Ninh Binh Province. Due to their excellence, they are twice as expensive as ordinary types found in the farms.
It is the vinegar together with the high-quality snails that create an exclusive flavor for Bun Oc Nguoi in this restaurant. And it is deserved to be one of the best dishes in Hanoi.
The extraordinary restaurant that everyone should visit once
Bun Oc Nguoi tastes the most flavorful in hot seasons. Thus, summer is the busiest time for Xuan, the owner of the restaurant at O Quan Chuong Gate. She has been running it for almost 20 years. Although space is confined and customers have to sit back-to-back to one another, the restaurant is always crowded.
No one ever complains about how small Xuan’s restaurant is. The only common grievance is from those who arrive late in the afternoon and all food items are sold out. They are disappointed because they cannot satisfy themselves with their favorite dish.
Hanoi connoisseurs love Bun Oc Nguoi here for numerous reasons. Some people say that they prefer the noodle strands of Xuan’s restaurant to those in other places. It is easy to understand. Xuan’s noodles are made from high-grade ordinary rice. It is about 1.5 times more high-priced than normal kinds.
Other customers state that they like the snails best. They are tough, crunchy, and greasy. When they are pulled out from the shells, their fresh fluid looks incredibly appealing.
Xuan’s street restaurant
Nonetheless, the element that makes so many people fall in love with Bun Oc Nguoi here is the soup. It successfully reveals the strictness in Hanoi cuisine. This is also the secret that Xuan never shares with people outside her family. The soup is the water left after the snails are steamed.
It is unacceptable to add more water or seasoning powder to it. The soup must be pure and only meets the standards when there is no fishy smell. Furthermore, all of the tastes, including the mild sour of vinegar, the sweetness of snails, warmness of gingers, and little spiciness of chili peppers must be recognized when customers take the first bite. Otherwise, Bun Oc Nguoi will be regarded as a disaster.
Xuan’s restaurant does not have a specific signboard. However, it is so common to local citizens that they simply call it the O Quan Chuong Street Restaurant. If you have a chance to visit Hanoi, you should definitely add it to your Hanoi food tour. It is located at Number 1 Hang Chieu Street. This will be a fascinating experience that you have never tried before.