There are two things many residents of Hồ Chí Minh City find diverting about the famous Hà Nội specialty – bánh tôm – fried patties of wheat flour, shrimps and long pieces of sweet potatoes.
First, they use the same name for a crispy cake that is an optional side dish served with bánh ướt – thin rice pancake (literally, “wet cake”); or with bánh cuốn (literally, “rolled cake”).
This “faux” bánh tôm is made of rice flour, shrimp and mung beans.
The second thing is that the Saigonese can actually enjoy the “original” bánh tôm from Hà Nội in the heart of Hồ Chí Minh City.
(L,R) Bánh tôm (fritter of shrimps and sweet potatoes), bún chả (grilled pork meat served with rice vermicelli, fresh herbs, and sweet and sour sauce), and nem rán (fried rolls)
What’s more, what is served here is more original than found in many establishments that serve the dish in its place of origin.
Kudos are due to the Hồ Tây Restaurant in District 1 for keeping pieces of sweet potatoes in its bánh tôm – an ingredient missing these days even in many old restaurants in Hà Nội.
Even the dipping sauce is very close to its original version – a fish sauce that has sweet, sour and spicy tones, and totally does not affect the shrimp fritter’s crispiness when it is dipped.
Then there are pickled vegetables and fresh herbs as accompaniments.
Of course, the best place to have bánh tôm is still the Bánh Tôm Hồ Tây (West Lake bánh tôm) Restaurant in Hà Nội, which is well-known nationwide.
But while you are in Sài Gòn and have a hankering for the capital city’s specialty, I would highly recommend the Hồ Tây Restaurant.
Moreover, the restaurant sells two other famous dishes of Hà Nội:
Bún chả (grilled pork meat served with rice vermicelli, fresh herbs, and sweet and sour sauce), and nem rán (fried rolls), also known as spring rolls.
If you are in Hồ Chí Minh City missing Hà Nội; or if you are in Hồ Chí Minh City and want a sneak preview into the famed Hà Nộii cuisine – you don’t have to go far to get to the Hồ Tây Restaurant.
By TÂN NHÂN
Source: Thanh Niên News