Fermented Pork Rolls in Thanh Hoa

Thanh Hoa’s fermented pork has long been known as one of the most delicious specialties of the city. Local people here have been very creative to make fermented pork under various forms; most popular forms of which are nem thinh (fermented pork mixed with “thinh” – a kind of roasted rice) and nem boc (fermented pork rolls).

If you want to explore Thanh Hoa through a cuisine journey, apart from its well-known specialties such as Ben Ngu’s snails, banh khoai or grilled shrimps, don’t forget to come over Dinh Le Street to get a taste of nem boc.

Around 3 or 4 PM, walking along Dinh Le Street (old Flower Garden Market), you will easily catch sights of vibrant street food stores with a wide range of famous street foods. At the end of the road, food kiosks gather together creating an separated area for “nem” – fermented pork. These food kiosks are filled with fresh green banana leaves, bringing about an enchanting sight as if off which you cannot take your eyes. 
Firstly, fermented pork rolls are served. The owner uses a thin layer of banh muot (steamed flat cake) to roll over the mix of a cut slice of boiled egg, chopped boiled pork and mixed fermented pork. A well-made roll of fermented pork is dipped into fish sauce with grinded roasted peanut. The mixed sour sweet taste of fermented pork and chopped boiled, mixed with the scrumptious fragrance of fish sauce and roasted peanut, and the soft taste of steamed flat cake altogether create an unforgettable taste of the food. 

The most important element to make fermented pork rolls is the sauce. Usually fish sauce served with fermented pork rolls is from Thanh Huong Fish Sauce – a fish sauce brand that is famous for their long lasting recipe, ingredients include sugar, vinegar and grinded roasted peanut. Thanh Huong Fish Sauce authentically tastes light sweet. When served with fermented pork rolls, fish sauce usually includes another separated small bowl of fresh chilies which is meant for guests to add in their rolls, depending on personal tastes. 
Some other kinds of fermented pork rolls which are widely liked are fermented pork rolls with fig leaves, dinh lang (literal “polyscias fruticosa”) leaves, guava leaves and some other kinds of fresh vegetables. Especially fermented pork rolls with fig leaves are not eaten with chili sauce but with the usual fish sauce as mentioned

Pork type which is chosen to make fermented pork rolls is usually wrapped pork. This kind of pork when unwrapped reveals the stuffing of fermented pork whose shape looks like a truncated-cone-shaped cake; local people call it nem qua or qua nem (ball of meat). After fermenting, pork brings about a light sour fragrance, a sign that means it can be used. Usually fermented pork rolls store or kiosk remains very crowded, so the owner put utensils available on the table for guests to unwrap fermented pork themselves.

Apart from fermented pork rolls, visitors can also enjoy a wide range of street foods offered on Dinh Le Street such as rice spaghetti (cooked with shrimp, crab or meat), glutinous rice cake, bloating fern-shaped cake..., and buy some wrapped fermented pork as a specialty to bring home. 
Fermented pork rolls are seen as a simple Thanh Hoa’s specialty, yet filled with local people’s strong affection. This dish is recognized as one of the most popular foods of Thanh Hoa, a must-eat that contributes to enrich Thanh Hoa’s street cuisine and Vietnamese cuisine in general. 

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