Indulge in the Rich Heritage of Cao Lau
The meaning of the dish "Cao Lau" - Hoi An ancient town specialty
Cao Lau, the renowned specialty of Hoi An, goes beyond being just a dish; it encapsulates the rich cultural heritage and intriguing history of this ancient town. Its name itself carries a fascinating story that harkens back to the bygone era of Hoi An's prosperous merchant trade.
In the past, the houses and restaurants in Hoi An stood tall with two floors, each serving a distinct purpose. The upper floors were reserved for esteemed wealthy merchants, creating an air of exclusivity and privilege. It is said that Cao Lau was a dish specifically prepared for these affluent patrons, signifying their elevated status and offering them a culinary delight befitting their discerning tastes. Hence, the dish came to be known as Cao Lau, metaphorically representing the act of bringing it to the "high floor" for esteemed diners.
Another intriguing belief surrounding the origin of Cao Lau draws inspiration from the demanding nature of the merchants' profession. The wealthy traders, entrusted with precious goods, would often climb to the top floor of the shops to keep a watchful eye on their merchandise while indulging in their meals. Thus, Cao Lau became synonymous with this elevated dining experience and the merchants' dedication to both their trade and gastronomic satisfaction.
Furthermore, Cao Lau holds a special significance during the flood season that periodically engulfs Hoi An. As the waters rise, the inhabitants of this charming town retreat to higher floors for safety. It is during these times that locals and visitors alike seek solace and comfort in the warm embrace of Cao Lau. The dish becomes a symbol of resilience and adaptation, providing a taste of tradition and stability amidst the temporary upheaval.
So, what exactly is Cao Lau? This culinary masterpiece is a harmonious blend of influences, reflecting Hoi An's historical connections with Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese cultures. The star of the dish is the distinctively chewy and aromatic noodles, crafted using a secret recipe passed down through generations. These noodles are carefully prepared using water drawn from a hidden, ancient well in Hoi An, believed to possess magical properties that lend the dish its unique texture and flavor.
Accompanying the noodles are succulent slices of pork, marinated with traditional spices and lovingly cooked to perfection. Fresh greens, such as aromatic herbs and crispy bean sprouts, add a refreshing element, while the final touch of roasted rice crackers provides a delightful crunch. The entire ensemble is then bathed in a savory broth, infused with regional spices and the essence of Hoi An's culinary traditions.
As you savor each bite of Cao Lau, you not only delight in the exquisite flavors but also immerse yourself in the captivating history of Hoi An. This dish is a testament to the town's resilience, its ability to adapt, and the lasting influence of its merchant past. It is a symbol of elevated experiences, both literal and metaphorical, and a culinary journey that transports you to a bygone era.
Indulge in the legacy of Cao Lau, experience the enchantment of Hoi An's ancient town, and allow yourself to be captivated by the flavors, history, and mystique of this exceptional dish. At Bellerive Hoi An, we invite you to join us on this culinary adventure, where traditions come alive and every bite tells a story.
Bellerive Hoi An - A beautiful riverside hotel with a breath of an ancient fishing village, peacefully leaning on the lower Thu Bon River
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Address: 33 Le Dai Hanh Street, Cua Dai Ward, Hoi An City