Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dong Thinh - Hanoi, Vietnam (Old Quarter)

Mien Xao Luon was one of Gastronomy's Top 10 foods in Hanoi to try, so even though we were uncomfortably full, we had to try it. It was the last meal of the day after a nonstop biking/eating extravaganza. No matter how good you are, you just don't get the same treatment as a dish that is consumed earlier in the day and also in hunger.

So Jung and I came here even though we were so full, because it happened to be nearby and we figured, we might as well try it now or else we might not get a chance to eat it. We had hoped that this would be pretty far from where the crab noodle soup place was so we could walk off our prior meal, but it ended up being only a few minutes away.

This is the front of the store, where those crispy eels were being fried.

The Mien Xao Luon was 30,000, about $1.50 a plate.

We were both so full and tired from roaming around the city all day. I think we both assumed we'd each have a bite or two, be satisfied that we tried it and just go back to the hotel. That plan got tossed out of the window once the dish arrived. Jung and I ended up finishing it. We squished away every ounce of self control and drowned out all sensory cues telling us to stop eating. What can we say, it was surprisingly really good.

It kind of reminded me of Korean japchae because of the glass noodles, but the similarities stop there. This dish had bean sprouts, egg, strips of fried eel, fried shallots, fresh cucumber, cilantro and purple perilla leaves. If I recall, I think you pour on some fish sauce and mix it together.

There is something so tasty about the different textures and flavors in this dish. Crispy eel and crunchy cucumbers with soft glass noodles and eggs. The fresh perilla leaves, cilantro and fried shallots were a great compliment to the dish as well. It also came with a small bowl of hot, clear soup. It's definitely something you should try in Hanoi.

Dong Thinh
87 Hang Dieu Street

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