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Page 5

Picture of outdoor menu for crispy fried rice restuarant written in Vietnamese. Sign is 2 feet by three feet in size.


This restaurant where we ate lunch, like many in Hanoi, specializes in one type of food. In this case, “Cơm chiên giòn” (crispy rice) with Đùi Gà quay (roasted chicken thighs). 

Their signature dish is a Đà Nẵng-style dish called “Cơm chiên giòn Đùi Gà quay Đà Nẵng” (crispy rice with roast chicken thigh Da Nang style sauce). In the picture of the menu above, it is the first item listed on the right hand side of the menu under “Cơm chiên giòn (món dậc trưng)” [Crispy rice (specialty dishes)]. Then, in descending order on the menu, you are offered: crispy rice and roast chicken thigh with any of the following sauces: bbq, sweet and sour, mushroom, or  pepper, or spicy. Or you can get crispy rice with grilled pork ribs (sườn non nướng) with the any of the following sauces…bbq, sweet and sour, mushroom, or  pepper, or spicy. All these come in small or large portions

On the left side menu you can choose cơm lúc lắc (“shaken” rice; i.e., stir-fried rice) with roast pork, braised pork belly, braised fish, or breaded chicken, pork, or beef.  Oh…and if you want it to be take away (mang về) you pay 5K VND ($0.20) for the carton.

Picture of table top with a bowl of green leaves in broth, chopsticks andto the right a plastic container of rice and pickled green lettuce-like vegetable with the lid directly above it on the table holding a chicken thigh and drumstic.

Yesterday, after my walk around the park I stopped by the crispy rice place and bought a “small” cơm chiên giòn Đùi Gà quay Đà Nẵng mang về (to go) for 70,000 VND ($2.95 USD) or 65K ($2,75) without the cost of the box. You can see in the picture above what all comes with the meal. If you look closely at the fried rice in the bottom of the picture, you will see a lighter colored substance - this my friends, is the “crispy rice”. It's a puffed rice (think rice crispy cereal, but smaller and uber-crispy)! The fried rice is “broken” rice. 

For those who may not know what broken rice is, let me share. When rice is processed to remove the hull, some of the rice kernels get “broken”. Because people prefer unbroken rice kernels, the broken kernels are separated out from the unbroken ones and sold separately. In the “old days” these damaged kernels were sold to those people with a low income. As with all “poor quality foods”, once people with high incomes discover them, them, the price goes up. Beef brisket, for example, was once sold to to those with low incomes because it is tough and was considered a poorer grade of meat. Those with low incomes discovered that if you smoked brisket over a fire all day, not only did it become tender, but it was delicious.  Nowadays, try to find cheap “BBQ brisket” anywhere.





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