more la place

In places on May 1, 2012 at 9:51 am

it was too hot to eat on the sidewalks so we had lunch in la place one more time. having seen the menu from the last time, we knew exactly what to order. first up, fresh spring rolls

even if we could imagine what good fresh spring rolls must taste like, these were still surprisingly delicious. is there a word that means “a notch above fresh”? that’s the word i’d use here. sharp and cool and crisp. and that wrapper – it was so fine we thought it was a layer of plastic to protect the roll. it was that clear and firm. inside with the vegetables, a little bit of pork and a shrimp that was (again) so fresh it could’ve jumped out of there.

the other dish – recommended by my brother – pho bo

i read an article once about the importance of the stock to pho. that one should never eat pho unless you can see the pot boiling. another article also said that the broth of pho should be murky – because it’s the result of a lot of goodness (beef bone, that sort of thing) boiling for a long time. well, this pho was murky and – outside of bulalo – the beefiest tasting broth i’ve ever had. it was a revelation. and the flavor couldn’t have come from the beef strips in the bowl because that was obviously newly placed – still pink and very tender.

this was the only pho bo we had in hanoi – so i honestly can’t compare it to legendary sidewalk pho bo. but i seriously can’t imagine how much more spectacular street pho bo could be, especially given the no MSG rule of la place (i also read somewhere that vietnamese aren’t shy with MSG). this dish was full of flavor – perfectly walking the fine line between long boiled stock and fresh everything else. and at 45,000 dong (P112) – it isn’t priced much more than sidewalk pho. another must try.

we have so much more to learn about vietnamese cuisine (and to think this is just one city!) but we are really happy we had la place as a venue for our beginner’s course. if we ever manage to return to hanoi, we will eagerly throw our bags and head off joyfully to la place


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