Bun nem ran, deep fried spring roll with white vermicelli, is originally from Saigon, a southern city. However, when it comes to Hanoi, the dish has been considerably modified to suit the taste of Hanoians.
To Hoai, a late well-known Vietnamese writer, wrote in his book “Chuyen cu Ha Noi” (Old Stories of Hanoi) that when spring rolls appeared in Hanoi was unknown. However, wrote To Hoai, Saigon’s spring rolls had been changed much after their arrival in the capital city.
According to the writer, Saigonese spring rolls were very popular at restaurants in the old quarter of Hanoi. Ever since, southern spring rolls have altered so much so that it can be considered now a specialty of Hanoi which boasts its own flavor.
Hanoi-style spring rolls with rice vermicelli are a favorite dish of Hanoians as well as visitors.
According to an owner of an eatery serving Hanoi-style spring rolls, the best part of Hanoian spring rolls is from the filling which includes shiitake mushroom, wood ear mushroom, cellophane noodle and minced pork. Shiitake mushroom and wood ear are soaked in warm water while cellophane noodle is soaked in cold water. All ingredients are mixed and seasoned with spices such as salt, pepper and fish sauce. Then, the mixture will be wrapped in rice papers before being deep fried until they have the eye-catching golden-yellow color.
The final step is making the garlic dip. Fish sauce, vinegar, chili, garlic, pepper and sugar are what are needed to have a tasty dipping sauce to enjoy with the spring rolls.
A plate of Hanoi-style spring rolls and rice vermicelli will be even tastier with fresh herbs.