Like many Vietnamese living and working abroad, Nguyen Ngoc Lam, who lives in Denmark, dearly miss traditional dishes like bún chả, phở and bún vịt măng.
But for him, nothing can compare to bún vịt măng (rice noodle soup with duck meat and fresh or dried bamboo).
Though the dish is available nationwide, the most delicious version is cooked by Hanoians, Lam said, adding those cooked by his mother are among the best.
Lam had fond memories of enjoying bowls of bún vịt măng made by his mother and learnt from her to make a version of his own.
“I learned her technique to cook the dish at my home in Denmark, but the flavour is somehow different,” Lam said.
Lam’s mother Tran Thi Hinh said to cook the dish she needs a duck raised naturally from six months and up.
“This kind of duck meat is fragrant and soft but crispy compared with others,” she said.
A secret to making the duck tastier is to soak it with white wine, salt, lemon juice, and ginger before putting it in a boiling water pot under medium fire.
“During the process of boiling, we should put pieces of salt, ginger and citronella in the pot. These ingredients help the boiled duck have fragrant characteristics,” Hinh said.
Fresh or dried bamboo should be cut to five-centimetre pieces and boiled for an hour before frying it with dried onions until it’s well mixed with fish sauce, sugar, and spice. The fried bamboo and boiled duck blood pieces are then put in the broth pot over a light fire, Hinh said.
“The dish being tasty or not depends greatly on the broth which is cooked with duck bones, ginger and other spices,” she said.
The final stage is to pour the broth in a bowl of rice noodles which is topped with duck meat pieces, fresh onions and eryngiums, she said, noting the dish is tastier when topped with pepper powders.
Lam said he had a very good appetite when dipping a piece of duck meat in the mixed sauce made of ginger, garlic and Phu Quoc fish sauce.
“It’s great to enjoy the crispy bamboo, sweet broth and aromatic fragrance of ginger,” Lam said, adding that all tiredness seemed to be gone after eating a hot bowl of bún vịt măng.
Different from Lam who enjoys the dish cooked by his mother, Bui Hong Anh from the northern province of Quang Ninh like bún vịt măng from shops in central Hanoi.
“When I have work in the capital city I often enjoy eating at these shops because the dish there is super tasty that I can eat it instead of my meal.
“The duck meat is firm, less fatty and fragrant while the bamboo is soft and crispy,” Anh said, adding that she feels quite healthy after eating the dish.