5 amazing dishes to try in the Hanoi’s winter

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Many people said that delectable dishes are available for all four seasons. Correct! However, it is not deniable that some of them are especially more tasty and appetizing in the cold weather of Hanoi winter. The following is a list of some of the most typical snack foods that have become a part of winter in Hanoi.

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Fried bread sticks (Quẩy)/Congee (Cháo quẩy)

Fried bread sticks, another common food has also become popular for this time of year. Often it is served with a papaya dipping-sauce in winter; it is a favorite among students. To make “quẩy”, people cut the dough flat made of rice powder into bands, and combine them to form pairs. The dough pair is then carefully dropped into the hot oil and continuously flipped until it puffs up into the normal shape we see.

Chao Quay (via Wikimedia Commons)

Beside being served on its own, “quẩy” is commonly stuffed in the congee or noodle to eat with the soup. For those chilly days, Vietnamese rice porridge/congee is the very comfort food of choice. Congee can be eaten as plain rice soup or with additional ingredients such as chicken, duck, fish or pork. In Hanoi, the most popular variations are those with pork ribs or oyster, which are often served as snack in the afternoon. “Quẩy” is often broken apart and dipped into the soup to serve as an accompaniment to these variations. Especially, the soup could be much fancier when mingled with a sprinkling of sliced scallions, chopped parsley and fried shallot.

Grilled corn (Ngô Nướng)

The scent of grilled corn coming along with chilly winds of winter nights always brings about a bit of warmth inside many Hanoians. Vendors, who are mainly middle-aged and old women, begin to cook and sell grilled corn from late afternoon. They often put corns on fire built by charcoal and constantly turn them over to make corns become well cooked but not burnt. As a result, while the cover becomes hard and browned, the inside is still glutinous, sweet and packed with flavors. Grilled corn stalls can be found almost anywhere on the sidewalk of Hanoi during the night.

Grilled corn (via Kenh14)

Boiled snails (Ốc luộc)

Hanoi may not be able to compete with HCMC or Nha Trang in terms of the variety of snail dishes. However, bowls of boiled snails are best experienced on a cold winter night. Snails are often soaked with chilly in order to make them “open the mouth”. By doing this trick, the seller can wipe away the dust and sand inside the snail after cleaning by water for a few times.

The snails are normally served with a mixture of fish sauce, lime, chili, sugar and lemongrass. It is quite interesting to know that this accompaniment varies from stall to stall and the good sauce rather than the snails is the key to attract eaters.

Grilled Vietnamese sausages (Nem chua nướng)

Nem chua nuong (via WordPress.com)

The flavor of grilled sausages is a bit sweet, a bit sour and slightly spicy, especially with chili sauce. Not like fried fermented pork which is dry and in deep golden yellow, the grilled one can keep the original pink color of pork together with an outside sticky layer. It is one of those dishes favored by young people. It is often served with unripe mango and a small dish of pepper and salt.

Hot Vietnamese sweet beverage (Chè nóng)

If you choose the hot version of “chè”, the varieties of this dessert would possibly be limited to those made of black bean or mung bean. However, the hot glutinous soup surrounded by the fragrant smell could definitely warm you up in the cold winter. If you are not in a hurry, try “chè” hotpot. This new business idea gives patrons a DIY option, which allow them to put additional flavorings into sweet soup kept warm by light fire.

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