Cau Lao, one of Hoi An’s signature dishes, combines pork and noodles in an unique way. This is a Vietnamese party dish, served up on special occasions such as the Vietnamese New Year.
How We Made Cau Lao in Our Cooking Class at the Morning Glory Restaurant in Hoi An
A slab of pork belly is marinated for at least 30 minutes in a Chinese-style marinade consisting of sea salt, brown sugar, 5-spice mix (cinnamon, star anise, cloves, fennel seeds, and Sichuan pepper), mashed garlic, and tons of soy sauce. After 30 to 45 minutes, remove the pork from the marinade.
Place a bruised lemongrass bulb in a pan with hot peanut oil, and fry until the aroma is released. Add the marinated pork to the lemongrass and peanut oil mix and fry gently for at least ten minutes, turning occasionally until both sides are brown. (Be careful not to burn the garlic.)
- While the pork is frying, make up a broth from the marinade by adding even more soy sauce, 3 heaping teaspoons of brown sugar, chile sauce and mashed garlic.
- Add the broth straight onto the fried pork and hot oil, turn down the heat, put the lid on and let simmer for 45 minutes. When finished cooking, let cool slightly and slice into thin medallions.
- To serve individual portions, take a handful of fresh Cau Lao noodles and another of bean sprouts and blanch for half a minute. (More about how they made the ‘secret recipe’ noodles.)
- Once blanched, the noodles and bean sprouts are placed on one side of the bowl with mixed Vietnamese herbs placed on the other side.
- Slices of pork are placed on top of the noodles, a small ladle of broth is added. The dish is topped with some crunchy deep-fried ‘pillows’, coriander leaves, a slice of red chile and slivers of spring onion.
More on Ms Vy’s Morning Glory Cooking Class
- Vietnamese-style breakfast/brunch items
- A Visit to a Bean Sprout ‘Garden’
- An Organic Herb Garden
- How They Make the Famous (and Secret) Cau Lao Noodles
- Weird and Wacky Street Foods