Hoi An food might leave in the tourists’ memory an unforgettable taste. It is not only the savor of food but also space and special way that they eat it. One of the most famous food in Hoi An that there is no tourist miss out is Cao Lau. But you might not know the reason why it has become famous. You shall also miss the story of making Cao Lau. This dish has a unique recipe that only in Hoi An, people can make it.
Cao Lau – The most unique Hoi An food
Cao Lau is a special type of noodles and a tradition Hoi An food. In Vietnam, noodle has become popular. It is considered as the main dish of a meal. There are different types of noodles. However, they all are made from rice. The differences among types of noodles are the size and color of noodles, the soup to eat with. Among them, Cao Lau still keeps an attractive uniqueness. The noodles of Cao Lau are in a brown color. Moreover, it is big and hard. That makes Cao Lau becomes more special among different types of noodles.
The name Cau Lau came from the way that the locals ate it. In the past, when Cao Lau appeared, it was a type of food for rich people. They usually ate it on the high floor of the restaurants. Therefore, the locals called it Cao Lau which means “high floor” in Vietnamese.
What makes Cao Lau become the unique Hoi An food?
In the different types of Hoi An food, Cao Lau is the one that has the most unique recipe. The reason is its ingredients and the way they make it.
The rice is dipping into the water mix with ash from Cham island
The main ingredient of Cao Lau is rice flour. Moreover, this is also the most important thing to make the uniqueness of Cao Lau. Rice to make the flour is chosen carefully. It must be in good quality which means it is neither too old nor new. If this condition is met, the noodle will be soft but tough. Moreover, the water which is for dipping rice is a mixture of water and ash. The special point here is that the ash must be from Cham island. This mixture of water will make the rice brown like you see the noodles’ color. Due to this complication, Cao Lau has become the most special Hoi An food.
Cham island is a rough pearl of Hoi An. This island is located on the east of the ancient town. This is a group of 8 small islands. Among them, Cham island is the biggest one and the main tourist destination. Besides the imposing beauty of nature and the deep ocean, this is also a historical destination of the country. Cham island is a place with the mark of Champa and Sa Huynh culture during Dai Viet time. If you have enough time to visit Vietnam, do not forget to explore this rough pearl which is just near Hoi An ancient town.
Kneading the dough with the water from Ba Le well
The water uses to knead the dough is from Ba Le well. There are so many people outside of Hoi An try to make Cao Lau. However, they have never been successful with the same taste as the local people do. The reason is that they cannot find the same water as Ba Le well. The uniqueness of water from Ba Le well is its alum level. With this alum level of the Ba Le well, the noodles will be tough and firm.
Ba Le well is also a famous destination of Hoi An ancient town. Its water is used for many different Hoi An food. That is the reason why foods in the ancient town always have a special taste that you cannot find anywhere else. As the locals say, the well was built in the 10th century by Cham people. Normally, the well mouth is a circle. However, Ba Le well has a square mouth. This is an unlimited mineral water source. Moreover, with the holy cultural value of Ba Le well, the locals only use its water for cooking but not for washing or daily activities.
What are the differences between Cao Lau and Quang noodle?
Besides the ingredients and the way to make noodles, Cao Lau and Quang noodle have other differences.
The first one is the sauce. The biggest difference among Hoi An food and Danang food is its sauce. It is the same with Cao Lau and Quang noodle. Quang noodle sauce has a delicate flavor. In contrast, Cao Lau sauce has a stronger flavor as the food cook with sauce.
The next one is the sauce bowl goes with noodles. To Quang noodles, it is a bowl of fish sauce which increases the taste of noodle sauce. However, when you eat Cao Lau, they will give you a small bowl of soya sauce. The reason is that the sauce of Cao Lau is strong as the way locals cook food with sauce. Thus, the extra sauce must have a delicate flavor to keep the origin of Cao Lau.
Where to try Cao Lau in Hoi An ancient town?
There are so many places serve Cao Lau in the ancient town. However, to try the true local taste, tourists should know the right eateries.
- 16 Thai Phien street – Cao Lau Lien.
- Hoi An market – Cao Lau Ba Be.
- 26 Thai Phien street – Cao Lau Thanh.
- 87 Tran Phu street – Cao Lau Hoi An – Trung Bac restaurant.
- 687 Hai Ba Trung street – Cao Lau Khong Gian Xanh.