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In Vietnamese, cha ca means fried fish. So when I ended up at a place in Hanoi called Cha Ca on Cha Ca street, it felt just right. Yep, a fish restaurant on a fish street, it’s hard to get it wrong.
We got there early and we were taken to the second floor where people were already ready to eat. The lady handed us the menu which had a single item on the menu. Fish dish for 150 000 VND, that’s it.
The whole thing is pretty simple. Bowls of herbs is brought to the table along with a plate of rice noodles and dipping sauce.
A gas burner was set between us and the piece de resistance was brought from the kitchen; a fried pan filled with small pieces of elephant fish slowly frying in a pool of oil.
Elephant ear fish is a specialty of Vietnam and the lady prepared the meal for us by adding a generous portion of herbs to the sizzling oil.
The meal turned out to be delicious. Elephant ear fish has a nice white flesh. The addition of the dill and coriander made the whole thing taste amazing.
It’s certainly not the cheapest restaurant and the whole affair has tourist trap written all over it being featured in most guide books. A bunch of locals were eating next to us and the amazing taste almost justified the higher price.
Cha Ca La Vong is a must if you plan to visit Hanoi. It’s located in the heart of the old town where each street has its own specialty. I would suggest you get there early.
Have you tried other fried fish places in Hanoi which you might recommend?
Cha Ca La Vong
14 Cha Ca, Hanoi