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Creamy chao, the ultimate comfort food

“Thaaaanh, when will you take me for brekkie at Dong Xuan”? I greeted my dear friend Thanh with this question ever since I’ve spotted on Instagram a picture of tempting, creamy chao suon. It looked like a good reason to jump out of bed before 6 am and run to the Old Quater before Vietnamese early birds eat away this morning delicacy. Finally we greeted the long-awaited free and most importantly sunny morning and met at one of the busy streets around the biggest market in Hanoi. Squatting at the small stools in front of the bubbling pots of thick, aromatic gruel we dipped our spoons in the bowls of delicious, hot ‘comfort food’. Thanh always eats more healthy than me so she chose vegetarian chao dau xanh plain rice and mung beans soup which one can adjust according to taste. Most of the people reach for the generous amount of sugar to get their morning energy boost but there are also more nutritious options like a biled egg, thit kho or delicate, fried tofu which was my friends’ choice. I ordered what I came here for – savoury, smooth, white congee cooked on pork ribs. It was all I dreamed of, topped with a rich amount of freshly fried, crunchy breadsticks banh quay. The texture was a bit surprising though, it wasn’t as silky as I expected and as most chao suon is. Rice grains were pounded to the size of tiny semolina granules a breakfast that was a morning ritual of every polish kid back in the days. Some of them hated the taste, I was the one who always loved my “kasza manna” bowl, so emptying this particular bowl of chao suon was a nice stroll down memory lane.

Chao suon (top) + chao dau xanh (bottom) sugar version and tofu version,
46 Nguyen Thiep, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi,
10.000 vnd/1 person

My favourite, creamy chao suon,
ngo 124 Au Co, Tay Ho, Hanoi,
10.000 vnd/1 person

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