During his recent visit to Hanoi, renowned American food blogger Mark Wiens couldn’t resist the allure of the famous meat-rolled fish noodle shop nestled on Dinh Liet street.
With a preference for the local sidewalk dining experience, Mark, who boasts 6 million Facebook followers and over 10 million on his personal YouTube channel, enthusiastically embraced the vibrant street food scene.
Known for its thin, crispy fish cakes and peculiar meat-rolled fish dish, the 20-year-old establishment on Trung Yen alley (Dinh Liet street, Hoan Kiem district) has garnered a reputation among locals and foreigners alike. Despite its limited space, the eatery consistently draws a large crowd, with a dedicated staff of 6-7 members.
To savor the unique flavors of the venue, Mark opted for a comprehensive order, indulging in three sets simultaneously: noodle soup, mixed vermicelli, and red rice cake. The enticing aroma of deep-fried fish greeted him upon arrival, heightening his anticipation.
Mark’s gastronomic journey commenced with the fish noodle soup, a delectable combination of vermicelli, fish, and crispy deep-fried fish cakes. The dish, adorned with bean sprouts, celery, green onions, and a flavorful broth, offered a delightful sensory experience. Mark, mirroring the locals, enhanced the dish by incorporating spicy bamboo shoots, garlic, chili, vinegar, and kumquats.
Unable to contain his excitement, Mark savored the broth first, expressing his delight, “The broth has a fragrant aroma, a sweet taste, a little sour mixed with the smell of dill leaves. Soft noodles, crispy fried fish. I can guess it’s tilapia. The fish absorbs the spices but still retains its crispness. Really cool.”
The mixed vermicelli dish featured similar ingredients but with dried vermicelli mixed with soy sauce and roasted peanuts. Mark, displaying his discerning palate, appreciated the dish’s unique crispness, untouched by the broth.
Mark also indulged in the restaurant’s most popular side dish, crispy fried fish and meat, praising its rich spices and crispy exterior. The deep-fried fish roll with meat, another highlight, showcased marinated fish, ground meat, wood ear fungus, and a crispy fried dough exterior, complemented by sweet and sour fish sauce.
Concluding his culinary adventure, Mark relished the red rice paper, prepared similarly to the noodle soup. While it was not a staple in his usual diet, Mark was inspired by the orders around him, expressing his eagerness to return and explore the mixed red rice cake on his next visit.