Sunday, February 14, 2010

Xoi Yen - Hanoi, Vietnam (Old Quarter)

Xoi Yen on Nguyen Huu Huan Street is easy to spot amid the numerous xoi eateries on the same street because it's the one on the corner with all the people sitting out in front. While the place itself has a steady stream of customers who sit down to enjoy this meal, we saw several people stop by to take their orders to go.

Xoi Xeo is yellow sticky rice served with slivers of mung bean paste, fried shallots and your choice of meat. The lady sits on a chair, where she has easy access to the sticky rice in a woven basket next to her, choice of meats laid out on a table and a bowl full of what looked like peeled mangoes.

The yellow mango look-a-like is actually mung bean paste. One of the ladies shaves the mung bean paste with her knife like it's a block of cheese. In your bowl, it ends up looking like thin slivers of Parmesan cheese.

To this you add your topping of chicken (thit ga), sausage (gio), chopped meat in spicy sauce (pate), whole egg (trung), fried over hard egg (op la) or chunks of slow-cooked pork (thit kho tau), among other options. There is no menu per se, so we tried to ask the guy which one was the best and he said to try the chicken and pork together. Here is a blurry picture of the masterpiece.

We ordered one to share. It came with a small bowl of spicy cucumber salad.

We liked the pork way more than the chicken. The chicken was alright, but the pork was really well flavored and it went well with the more mellow flavors of the sticky rice and mung bean paste. Vinegary cucumbers were the perfect crunchy condiment to eat this with. This turned out to be one of my favorite dishes in Hanoi.

Xoi Yen

35b Nguyen Huu Huan Street

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