Nem ran (Spring roll)
Nem ran (called cha gio in the south) is a much-appreciated speciality, although it is very easy to prepare. Since long ago, nem ran has been a familiar dish on the menu at all households during the New Year’s festivities, at family parties, and at receptions.
The stuffing of the nem ran is comprised of mince pork, sea crabs, eggs, minced Jew's ears, thin-top mushroom, dried onions, bean-sprouts, pepper, spiced salt, etc. The mixture is then rolled in flat rice cakes and fried in a pan until crispy.
Nem are eaten hot with a sauce that it is, at the same time, somewhat salty, sweet, acidic and scented (with the flavours of onion and pepper). Papaya and a few fresh scented vegetables are added.
Gio lua (Silky lean meat paste)
By itself, the name “silky lean meat paste” evokes thoughts of the silky aspect of this speciality. Gio lua is made with lean pig meat, which is pounded with a pestle until it becomes a sticky paste. Fresh banana leaves are tied very tightly around the paste, and then it is well cooked. Good gio lua has a fine white colour, is firm, and has a perfumed and sweetish taste.
Gio lua may be obtained anywhere in Vietnam, but the best gio lua is from Uoc Le Village (Hanoi), where the know-how for Gio lua is strictly kept so as to allow no secrets of the job to flow out from Uoc Le. Slices of Gio lua are slightly pink, moist, and sweet-smelling meat, fish sauce and banana leaf.