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La Vong grilled fish pies – pride of Hanoi cuisine

Mon, 30 Jun 2014. Last updated Fri, 19 Oct 2018 15:57

Having been listed in a book named “1000 places to see before you die” by Patricia Schultz, Hanoi is also famous for its amazing cuisine beside beautiful attractions. Among Hanoi food, La Vong grilled fish pies considered as the pride of Hanoi people.

I am wanderlust. I always have a strong passion in tourism and cuisine. Therefore, as soon as I have an opportunity, I immediately find an interesting place which has stunning attractions or very special cuisine to visit. One day, I bought a book named “1000 places to see before you die” and found a lot of exciting things. One of these things was “La Vong grilled fish pies” (Cha Ca La Vong in Vietnamese). This is one of famous cuisine in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi. I suddenly found myself have a strong desire to visit Hanoi, enjoy Hanoi attractions and Hanoi food.  Two months ago, I visited Vietnam and had a chance to enjoy La Vong grilled fish pies.  May be this is one of the most delicious food that I have tried until now. The fatty and fleshy taste of hemibagrus – a main ingredient of La Vong grilled fish is something I cannot forget in my life.

A set of La Vong grilled fish pies

Set food in Hanoi at noon, all members in my family felt tired and hungry. We took a taxi and went to “grilled fish pies” street (Pho Cha Ca).  Cha ca La Vong is very renowned Vietnamese cuisine; therefore, at first I thought it must be a luxurious restaurant. However, we were completely surprised by a simple look of a grilled fish pies restaurant. The restaurant is a kind of an old two-storey house and has no fluorescent lighting like others. Nonetheless, a great deal of customers comes here to enjoy the food each day. Diners come here including both domestic tourists and foreigners as well to make a feeling about a corner of Hanoi thousand year civilizations.

Shopfront - Cha Ca La Vong

We stood in queue to wait for our turn because the restaurant was so crowded. After waiting for a moment, a waiter invited us to sit in a small corner. The waiter served dishes on the table including some kinds of Vietnamese vegetables, shrimp sauce, chili sauce, noodles, Vietnamese toasted bread and toasted peanuts. Later on, an alcohol stove and a pan of fragrant fish were served on the table. I asked the waiter about the recipes of La Vong grilled fish pies and knew that this food consists of hemibagrus mixed with galangal, turmeric, and fish sauce. After finish baking, the fish are placed on the boiling pan with cumin and scallions.

Customers enjoy La Vong grilled fish pies

The way to eat La Vong grilled fish is not too picky. You just need to put a little of noodles on a bowl, then pick up a few of grilled fish with vegetables, roasted peanuts stirring with fat or shrimp or fish sauce and enjoy it. All members of my family loved this food very much. We had a delicious lunch and a perfect start in Vietnam tourism. My children often recall this dish and want to come back Vietnam to enjoy it again.

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