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Cha Ca (Grilled fish with dill and turmeric)

July 12, 2023 - 1090 views

Cha ca – Grilled fish with dill and turmeric – is a famous dish in Vietnam. If you have a chance of visiting this beautiful country, don't miss this delicious dish.

Cha ca has always been in the list of must-try foods in Vietnam. This famous dish is also known as “Cha ca La Vong” or “Cha ca Hanoi”. Grilled white fish, crispy-edged and fragrant with turmeric, fish sauce, ginger and garlic, dill, spring onion, roasted peanuts and served with rice vermicelli noodles. Every ingredient in this dish will bring you the real tastes of Vietnam.

History of Cha Ca

There was a restaurant in the Old Quarter that brought the grilled fish with dill and turmeric, a national phenomenon. This restaurant began serving Cha ca in the 19th century. Cha ca was invented by the Doan family. They made incredibly delicious Cha ca serve their guests in the year of the French domination period. The dish’s popularity soon spread and the family, with the help of guests, opened a restaurant in no 14 Hang Son Street of Hanoi Old Quarter. The fame of this dish was the reason why Hang Son Street changed into Cha Ca street. The restaurant at that time had a statue of La Vong – Khuong Tu Nha – the God of Fishman. This was the reason why many people prefer calling it Cha Ca La Vong.

Cha Ca (Vietnamese Grilled fish with dill and turmeric)

Cha Ca (Vietnamese Grilled fish with dill and turmeric)

Ingredients of Cha Ca

The dish is often made with snakehead fish. It is a freshwater fish that can be found across Vietnam. These days, there are many variant cha ca dish, in which people use different types of fish to make. However, the one made with snakehead fish is still the best. 

The grilled fish with dill and turmeric is complex to prepare, right from the first step of making the marinade. The marinade is made of turmeric, garlic, shallots, galangal, salt, sugar, and fish sauce. The fish is marinated at least one hour before being grilled in advance. Right before serving the dish to guests, they fry it in oil.

Cha Ca in Hanoi

Cha Ca in Hanoi

Enjoying this delicious dish in a traditional restaurant is such a unique restaurant. You sit down, order the dish and there will be a searing hot pan with marinated fish as well as a basket of accouterments brought to your table. Normally, you will find vermicelli, fresh herbs (dill, basil, spring onion), roasted peanuts, chili, and mam nem (a fermented shrimp paste). The fish and the herbs will be grilled in front of your eyes, the fish fillet will turn glorious golden with turmeric marinade.

Vietnamese Grilled fish with dill and turmeric

Vietnamese Grilled fish with dill and turmeric

Enjoy the dish right when it is sizzling, have bite-sized slices of fish with herbs, vermicelli, and salty peanuts. This will be your life-time experience tasting one of the most famous and delicious Vietnamese foods. Hanoi people often have this iconic dish to eat at the weekend with their family, friends, and colleagues.

Cha Ca is a famous dish in Hanoi

Cha Ca is a famous dish in Hanoi

Where to enjoy Cha Ca?

These days, in Hanoi, you can find several restaurants serving grilled fish with dill and turmeric. Here we list some of some best Cha ca restaurants where you can come to try:

  • Cha Ca La Vong Restaurant – 14 Cha Ca Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Cha Ca Ha Thanh – 20 Nguyen Van Huyen, Cau Giay District, Hanoi
  • Cha Ca Vong Ngu – 29 Nguyen Chi Thanh,  Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
  • Cha Ca Lang – Floor 1, 18 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem District
  • Ong Gia Cha Ca – Floor 9, 18 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem

Cha Ca La Vong

Cha Ca La Vong

Cha Ca is an amazingly tasty dish that tourists should try when they visit Hanoi, Vietnam. With a long history, complex ingredients, and distinctive taste, it is one of the most-hunting dishes in Hanoi.

Image source: Internet

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