Crab noodle soup – the spirit of Hải Phòng’s cuisine

Hải Phòng – a northern coast city in Vietnam has three villages including Lạng Côn, Hỗ and Dư Hàng Kênh with a 700-year history of making crab noodle. Its crab noodle strip is wider than the normal noodle and is either white or dark brown.

Crab noodles in Hải Phòng city are very different from other kinds of noodles in elsewhere in the country. “Delicacies of Hải Phòng are often associated with seafood and river-food like fish, crab and shrimp. And crab noodles have been the dish that has been attached with the memory of Hải Phòng natives for long.”

The dish features crab noodle (locally-made flat rice noodle), crab meat, pork bones-based broth and vegetables. Hải Phòng’s crab noodle soup is the pride of this city and can be said to be an expression and demonstration of traits of people living here – sharp, bold and frank. The tourists can find crab noodle soup in any street of this port city. A full bowl of crab noodle soup can have mọc (pork ball) or chả lá lốt (fried minced pork wrapped in lá lốt leaves), or chả cá (fried minced fish). But to keep it simple, they just need to put the brown noodle in broth with crab meat.

In the old days, Cát Dài Street was one of the places that had a large number of crab noodles soup sellers. Some home cooks still use a mortar and pestle instead of using a blender to pound the crabs when making the noodle soup, and they swear by the superior taste it imparts. Then there are those who will use only the water spinach grown in the Đồ Sơn area, which is best known for its crunchy taste.

To make this soup, Hải Phòng people use fresh noodle, dipping in hot water and then putting it in the broth. Cooks in other regions use dry noodle instead and soak it in cool water for several minutes before putting it in the broth. Crab noodles is sold in everywhere of Việt Nam, but natives and many tourists claim that crab noodles in Hải Phòng is the best prized because of its special taste with strong fragrance of rice and a chewy taste.
Cát Dài street, Cầu Đất Street, Nguyễn Đức Cảnh street are the places you can find good quality crab noodle soup or dry crab noodle.

Hong Van

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