Cau Lao, the Recipe for the Famous Pork & Noodle Dish of Hoi An in Vietnam

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.

Cau Lao Pork Noodle Dish, a Hoi An Speciality

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.)

5-spice powder from Vietnam

This package of 5-Spice Mix (here labelled Five-Aroma Powder) was included in our cooking kit. These five spices are a very pungent combo and you don’t need very much!

the pork is cooked in a lot of soy sauce and Chinese spices

The pork belly is cooked in a lot of soy sauce and Chinese spices

  • 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.)

preparing the Cau Lao noodles & bean sprouts

Cau Lao noodles and bean sprouts are dipped into boiling water for half a minute

Cau Lao noodles and bean sprouts are dipped into boiling water for half a minute

  • 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.

    Cau Lao Noodles in Hoi An, Vietnam

    Cau Lao Noodles in Hoi An, Vietnam

More on Ms Vy’s Morning Glory Cooking Class

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One response to “Cau Lao, the Recipe for the Famous Pork & Noodle Dish of Hoi An in Vietnam

  1. Pingback: WPC: Yin Yang of Vietnamese Cooking | Albatz Travel Adventures·

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