A Touch of Viet Nam
From time to time, I ask myself what really make a dish a traditional dish. Generally, foods are made with common ingredients such as grain, fruit, vegetable, dairy, protein, and fat/oil. These common ingredients are carefully transformed into different kinds of deliciousness under the hands of chefs. It’s developed over time and keeps changing. However, some foods are still categorized as traditional food no matter how modern it is. In my opinion, the thing that makes a dish traditional is the character trait of that dish.
For example, over the course of years, Vietnamese crab base soup has been developed into many different versions. Some are made with fishes, some are made with snails, and others are made with shrimps. All of them are considered as Vietnamese traditional foods because they share the same character which is coming from the taste of shrimp paste. This paste is the signature of the Vietnamese Culture. Fun fact, it’s believed that this paste was used to chase away the devil and prevent possession. If you don’t believe me, feel free to have a spoonful of it. It’ll suck your soul right out of your body. You’re welcome in advance.
This recipe can be made either with pork or chicken broth. The taste of the dish is determined by the flavour of the shrimp paste. The broth, in this case, is used for the umami and nutrition factor. I started off this with some sizzling chopped garlic. Then into the pot is the broth, wedges tomato, and annatto oil. After simmering for 5m, it’s time to add the shrimp paste and the carb paste mixture. To finish it off, I add my special mix of egg and shrimp paste to create flowing chunk of flavour.
Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup