Seven dishes you must try in central Vietnam, according to Ms Vy, House of Hoi An, Melbourne.
1. Barbecued fish, Quan Be Man
At this restaurant on the beach you can have your seafood cooked any way you like but most people ask for the fish to be cooked on the barbecue. You select your fish from the vast fresh seafood tanks and 30 minutes later, you have a perfectly cooked dish in front of you.
Vo Nguyen Giap St., Son Tra Dist, Danang
2. Goi cuon
Goi cuon, or summer rolls, are one of the most popular finger foods. Originating in the south, they are a popular street food but will often appear at a family meal in summer. Rolled at the table, they are a great communal experience. The soft rice paper is filled with juicy lightly steamed prawns, tender pork, thin rice noodles and herbs.
3. Thit Heo Ngu Vi Voi Xoi Dua
Aromatic spiced pork belly with sticky rice is a celebratory food served in central Vietnam during the Tet (lunar new year) holiday as historically, any kind of meat is seen as a rich person's food and a big treat. You could always tell a family's social status from the size of the pig they cooked for Tet.
4. Vem Xao Sa Ot
(Mussels in aromatic Hoi An spices.) Traditionally, these freshwater mussels come from Hoi An's nearby estuary and are cooked with Hoi An's famous local mix of spices and herbs. (In Melbourne, we use mussels from Port Phillip Bay). This seasonal treat is a favourite dish among men in central Vietnam to accompany beer or as a light meal or a snack.
5. Trung vit lon
Ba Nga is my favourite aunty. From the bamboo basket on her bicycle she sells the best duck embryos with dipping sauce and Vietnamese mint. Locals line up. It's a Vietnamese delicacy and still one of the main protein supplements in many Vietnamese households.
6. Bun bo, Bun Bo Cafe
In Hoi An, there is a place called Bun Bo Cafe. It's in the alley off Phan Chu Trinh Street and my favourite afternoon snack is their signature dish called bun bo, a spicy broth with rice noodles and beef.
7. Xoi bap
Another favourite is the Hoi An Cho cafe at the Market Soi Bap. My most ordered local breakfast is Xoi bap, served on a banana leaf. It's corn with glutinous rice topped with roasted nuts, sesame seeds and shallots.
The Langham, Melbourne's Melba Restaurant teams up with Ms Vy for one night only to kick off the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival; 6pm, March 30. Phone 1800 641 107. See langhamhotels.com
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