Vietnamese pork rolls, a staple among traditional Vietnamese foods, is a flavorful type of Vietnamese sausages crafted from finely ground pork and aromatic spices. Grilled to perfection, it embodies the essence of Vietnamese culinary artistry, offering a delicious blend of smoky and savory goodness. Whether savored in banh mi sandwiches or as a standalone dish, this delicacy is a must-try for those exploring Vietnam’s rich gastronomic heritage.
1. What is Vietnamese pork roll (Vietnamese sausage)?
The type of Vietnamese pork rolls introduced here is Vietnamese steamed pork rolls (or cha lua). Also known as “gio lua” in the northern region, Vietnamese pork rolls (cha lua) hold a pivotal place in Vietnamese cuisine, especially during the Vietnamese New Year (Tet) celebration. It is a cherished dish served not only during Tet but also on significant occasions such as weddings, death anniversaries, and family gatherings.
So, how to make a Vietnamese pork roll? To make one, fresh lean pork undergoes a thorough pounding until it reaches a smooth consistency. The mixture is then enhanced with two or three teaspoons of fish sauce before being wrapped in banana leaves. These rolls are gently immersed in a pot of boiling water, where they simmer for approximately an hour. Once cooked, this type of Vietnamese ham has an ivory color with subtle pink undertones and a few delicate dimples.
Vietnamese sausages offer a savory flavor with the unique aroma imparted by the banana leaves. Cha lua is a staple during the Tet Holiday, commonly served alongside sticky rice cake (banh chung) and paired beautifully with steamed rice rolls (banh cuon), sticky rice cake (banh day), or even Vietnamese bread (banh mi). Additionally, cha lua can be enjoyed with plain rice as part of everyday meals.
There are many variations of Vietnamese steamed pork rolls. Notable mentions are Vietnamese pork roll in banana leaf and Hue steamed pork roll. Additionally, tourists should not miss out on cha bo (beef sausages) and gio thu (Vietnamese head cheese).
2. Best places to buy Vietnamese sausages
When it comes to acquiring the finest Vietnamese sausages, renowned establishments in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are worth a look. Hanoi offers a range of brands, including Quoc Huong, Tran Cong Chau, Dung Hanh, Phuc Loc, etc. Tourists can also come to the bustling Hom Market and Hang Be Market to find Vietnamese pork rolls at the many stalls there. In Ho Chi Minh City, Nhu Lan, Chi Ca, Thy Van, and Minh Chau are some renowned brands for a delightful variety of these delectable sausages.
3. Other popular variations of Vietnamese pork rolls
3.1. Vietnamese fried pork rolls
Vietnamese fried pork rolls (cha chien), a delectable cousin of the famous cha lua, is a savory treat found in delis across Vietnam. It is made by blending lean pork and fat for a softer texture, incorporating fish sauce and potato starch. The mixture is steamed or boiled, but here’s the twist: it is then deep-fried to a stunning golden brown. This results in a softer and saltier flavor due to the added pork fat. Best enjoyed fresh, it complements many Vietnamese dishes like sticky rice and banh mi, making it a beloved side dish in many home-cooked meals.
3.2. Vietnamese deep-fried pork egg rolls
As a delightful variation of Vietnamese spring rolls, these deep-fried pork egg rolls harmoniously blend pork, vegetables, mung beans, and mushrooms. Encased in rice paper wrappers, they emerge golden brown and irresistibly crispy. You can enjoy these Vietnamese crispy pork rolls in a traditional way by wrapping them in lettuce and herbs, then dipping them into the sauce. While the wrappers are traditionally made from rice, wheat-based wrappers are also common and known for their ease of use in crafting this delicious treat.
3.3. Vietnamese pork vermicelli rolls
Banh trang cuon thit heo, a specialty hailing from Da Nang, is a harmonious marriage of flavors and textures. Thinly sliced pork belly is lightly seasoned and tenderly boiled, then elegantly presented alongside fresh vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, perilla, basil, banana blossoms, mint, and coriander. Rice flour noodles accompany the pork and vegetables, all wrapped in delicate rice paper. The final touch is a Vietnamese pork roll sauce called mam nem, a fermented fish sauce that gives this dish an unforgettable zest. To savor, create your roll by rolling it all together in a sheet of rice paper and dip it in the exceptional mam nem.
3.4. Vietnamese fermented pork rolls
Nem chua, a famous Vietnamese food, features pork, spices, and a unique fermentation process. Pork rinds are sliced into fine strands, combined with fresh meat, salt, and pepper, then allowed to ferment naturally. This imparts the dish with a fresh pork flavor, spicy notes, and a hint of salt. It is a year-round favorite, especially during cold months. Thanh Hoa, Thai Nguyen, and Hai Phong each offer a distinct regional variation of this treat. Apart from the traditional fermented pork rolls, Vietnamese cuisine also boasts exciting variations of this delicacy like fried or grilled fermented pork rolls.
4. Which dipping sauce pairs well with Vietnamese pork rolls?
The ideal dipping sauce for Vietnamese pork rolls depends on the type of rolls you are enjoying. Vietnamese pork vermicelli rolls typically pair perfectly with fermented anchovy sauce. Steamed, fried, deep-fried, and fermented pork rolls benefit from a dash of chili sauce. The traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce, which is a blend of fish sauce, chili, garlic, lime juice or vinegar, and sugar, complements all these dishes beautifully.
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Vietnamese pork rolls, a beloved culinary gem, reflect the rich tapestry of Vietnamese cuisine. With diverse variations and delectable flavors, these pork rolls captivate taste buds and provide an authentic experience of Vietnamese gastronomy. Whether savored in the bustling streets of Hanoi, the tranquil villages of Thanh Hoa, or the vibrant markets of Hai Phong, Vietnamese pork rolls stand as a symbol of the country’s culinary excellence.