Crab Spring Rolls (Nem cua bể)
If you fall in love with “nem rán” (Vietnamese spring rolls), nem cua bể, is bound not to let you down for the first try. Known as a specialty of Hai Phong, a beautiful coastal province, nem cua be seems not only to satisfy your taste but also bring you a little sunshine, a little sea breeze and even a little hardship of coastal locals. With the same cooking method as “nem ran”, nem cua be, however, distinguishes itself by its materials.
The main ingredients include ground crab meat, ground crab tile, lean pork, egg white, kohlrabi, carrot, ear mushrooms, bean sprout, rice paper and vermicelli. First, mix most ingredients together, apart from crab meat and egg white; add pepper, fish sauce, and then combine all things to make a sticky paste for stuffing. While other Vietnamese rolls are of tube shape, nem cua be is wrapped into square shape; thus, the wrapping process entitles special rice paper, leathery and soft plus a lot of culinary skills. Additionally, a little beer sprayed on rice papers is a secret for soft wrappers. Next, drop spring rolls into boiled oil, and wait until they turns golden brown and particularly appetizing.
This dish is served with rice vermicelli, lettuce, chopped cucumber, and a sour spicy sweet sauce. Minced carrot and kohlrabi tenderized by salty water, soaked into vinegar, also are eaten with nem cua be. Crab meat flavor is so special, sweet, fragrant but not too greasy. Savoring the dish gradually, you are certain to feel that the name nem cua bể is step by step embedded in your mind, gastronomists.
Where to eat
Hai Phong is the best choice to relish nem cua be. In Hanoi, nem cua be is served in many bun cha place on Ngoc Khanh street, and especially at the popular restaurant on Hang Manh street. Come and try it with noodle and be impressed!
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