“Cha ca” is a favourite dish of Hanoian. Located in Cha Ca street, Cha Ca La Vong (”cha ca” means grilled fish) is the famous restaurant to many Hanoian as well as visitors from all over the world.
The food is supposed to have been created by the Doan family. According to Mrs. Ngo Thi Tinh (a descendant of the 4th generation of the family), the family started the business of selling “cha ca” to earn money to support the family members and to have a meeting place for the Vietnamese people who wanted to fight against French colonialism.
The family food became a speciality of Hanoian people. There’s a statue of La Vong (an ancient Chinese poet and revolutionist) fishing by a stream on display in the restaurant. This is the symbol of a talented and patient man who know to wait for the right moment to come. The patrons called the restaurant “Cha ca La Vong”.
Connoiseurs usually wait until it become cool to go to enjoy the taste of Cha ca. The grilled fish must be made from a kind of fresh water fish called hemibagrus because it has very few bones and the flesh is very tasty. If hemibagrus is not available, we could make do with mudfish or snake-head fish. Some connoiseurs may request for a special kind of fish called Anh Vu, which is available only in Viet Tri city at the turning point of the Bach Hac river.
Thin slices of Anh Vu fish are rolled with a kind of herb called “soi” then grilled to give an excellent flavour. To make grilled fish, thin slices of fish have to be mixed with ginger, saffron, fermented cold rice, pepper and fish sauce; then placed on bamboo skewers and grilled on a burning charcoal stove right on the dinning tables.