Crab soup is a well-known food in Hai Phong. It attracts all of people due to not too sour, spicy, salty or sweet. It is cooked very meticulous in their presentation, like in the royal Hue cuisine, for example; they pay more attention to the freshness of the ingredients, especially seafood and river-food,” said Dao Thi Thanh Mai, a culture and tourism lecturer at a private university in the port town.
Delicacies of Hai Phong are often associated with seafood and river-food like fish, crab and shrimp. And banh da cua has been the dish that has been attached with the memory of Hai Phong natives for long.
The soul of Hai Phong
The dish features banh da (locally-made flat rice noodle), crab meat, pork bones-based broth and vegetables. It is the city’s pride, just as pho is to Hanoians.
If pho represents the delicateness of Hanoi cooks and food connoiseurs, banh da cua can be said to be an expression and demonstration of traits of people from Hai Phong – sharp, bold and frank.
Banh da cua can be found in any street of the port city and can be had at any time of the day, from dawn to midnight, said Nguyen Hoai Phuong, a resident of the city’s Ngo Quyen Street.
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 Do Son area, which is best known for its crunchy taste.