Cotton candy bikes, Fried ball-cake vendors… many of Hanoi street cuisines remind tourists and local about their dreamy childhood.
Sugar cotton candy
Wandering around Hanoi’s Old quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, you can easily catch the sight of cotton candy made on bikes. The candy is called ‘kẹo bông gòn’ in Vietnamese which is a form of spun sugar confection with dashes of colour and flavour which change from place to place.
However, like other countries, in Vietnam, the candy is made by heating and liquefying sugar and spinning it out through a minute holes with a centrifuge. Once in air, thin molten sugar strands re-solidify as cotton candy, which mostly contains air.
It is sold on a stick or in a poly bag. The machines in Vietnam are small and automatically produce single-servings of sugar cotton candy in which the spinning head moves at a speed of several thousand revolutions per minute. Most tourists have Vietnamese sugar ball candy to get nostalgic about their childhood experience.
Bánh rán (fried rice ball)
Bánh rán is a deep-fried glutinous rice ball from northern Vietnamese cuisine. In Vietnamese, bánh is a category of food including cakes, pies, and pastries, while rán means “fried.” Its outer shell is made from glutinous rice flour, and covered all over with white sesame seeds.
Its filling is made from sweetened mung bean paste, and scented with jasmine flower essence.photo Traditionally, the filling should be separated from the shell so that if one shakes the bánh rán, one can feel the filling rattle against the inside of the shell. Many of Hanoi children keep this kind of sweet gift in memory. In the past, bánh rán ‘s often the gift from their parents for a great performance at school.
Kẹo kéo (stretch candy)
This candy made from malt, peanuts, sesame. The seller pull until the length of the rods is exceedingly perfect, he cuts the rob of candy by his hand, which brings about delighted sound.
Now the candy is on your hand is pretty sticky, have fragrant smell from nuts and sesame. It seems that how long the vendor take, the more interesting the buyers interested in. Nowadays, children hardly know about this candy, but you can have “a ticket to childhood” when strolling around Hanoi’s night market to seek for vendors selling this sweet gift.
Cháo sườn – rib porridge
Spare rib porridge is made of two main ingredients: white rice and spare ribs. The ribs are first stewed for one hour. The cook then takes them out, put the rice in the broth and cook until it turns into porridge. Next, the ribs are deboned before being put back into the porridge pot.
A perfect bowl of spare rib porridge is the combination between the sweetness of the broth, thanks to ribs stewed for hours, and the tenderness of the pork and porridge. Lingering in many Hanoian childhood’s memory, rib porridge is served as the “afternoon-meal” after school for them.
Tràng Tiền ice cream
Kem Tràng Tiền is nothing fancy but everything about it is extraordinary. Lying in Trang Tien Street (Hanoi), the ice cream street shop has been famous for more than half of century.
Though it looked like everyone was fixing their motorbikes, on closer inspection I realized that everyone was sitting aboard their motorcycles, slowly chitchatting, waiting for another round of the treat that was making everyone so happy. With nearly 60 years of history, the ice cream here remains in memory of many Hanoians’ generations.
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