Eating Hot Vit Lon (Vietnamese Fetal Duck Egg) in Hanoi.

When I was in Hanoi earlier this year, there were 3 things that I was determined to eat; Bahn My (Vietnamese sandwich), Bahn My Pate Thit (Vietnamese sandwich with pate) and Hot Vit Lon (Vietnamese fetal duck eggs).

I am glad to say I managed to eat all 3 of them and more. The most interesting experience was of course eating the barely formed duck still encased in its egg.

The eggs are quite easy to find on the streets of Hanoi, especially where food is common. I spotted the stall I bought my egg from not long after walking down a road near my hotel.

After I ate my egg and continued walking, I spotted many more stalls selling Hot Vit Lon.

# – Lady boss cracking the egg.

# – Dropped it into a bowl.

# – Then served it to me along with fresh herbs and seasonings.

# – The partially formed baby duck.

# – Then I ate it.

The best way to describe the taste…it was like eating a large egg-yolk with bits of marrow and bits of gelatinous parts. The partially formed beaks, bones and hair were very mildly crunchy, kind of like eating really soft cartilage.

It was quite tasty really with seasonings and fresh herbs. Like eating an enhanced egg. I would eat it again.

In fact, they should do the same thing to chicken eggs here to be honest.

Vietnamese spring roll recipe by Chef Tran Cong Tien.

Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur has specially brought in 3 guest chefs from Sheraton Saigon to create authentic Vietnamese cuisine in conjunction with their Experience Vietnam campaign.

# – Le Meridien’s Executive Chef, Chef Antoine Rodriguez introducing Chef Tran Cong Tien, Chef Nguyen Thi Duy and Chef Bui Van Tien Dong.

# – Experience Vietnam by Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur.

I was lucky to be one of the bloggers (thanks KY for the invitation!) to have a sneak peek of the Experience Vietnam menus, which will be offered at Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur from 16 May – 22 May, 2011.

From delicious cold appetiser such as lotus stem & prawn salad to mouth-watering entree like Vietnamese braised beef with cinnamon, the menus are impressively extensive! If you want to experience a slice of Vietnam, you know where to go.

# – Grilled Beef Wrapped with Fragrant Leaves.

# – Sticky Rice Dumpling with Green Bean Filling and Ginger Syrup.

Led by Chef Tran Cong Tien, Chef Nguyen Thi Duy and Chef Bui Van Tien Dong demonstrated the making of several Vietnamese dishes. I of course, took the opportunity to absorb as much Vietnamese cooking knowledge as I could ;)

Good things are meant to be shared so I’ll be sharing Chef Tran Cong Tien’s Vietnamese Spring Roll & Soya Bean Sauce recipe here…

For the spring rolls:

  • 20 pieces of rice papers
  • 80 grams of butter lettuce
  • 25 grams of your favourite Vietnamese herbs (they were using Vietnamese basil and chives, I believe you can substitute with mints, coriander etc)
  • 70 grams of carrot, julienne
  • 200 grams of fresh rice vermicelli
  • 20 pieces of blanched prawns, peeled & halved

For the soya bean dipping sauce:

  • 50 grams of tamarind pulp
  • 50 ml of hot water
  • 40 grams of dried mung bean
  • 60 ml of tepid water
  • 200 grams of preserved soya bean
  • 50 ml of corn oil (I believe you can use ordinary flavourless cooking oil)
  • 10 grams of chopped garlic
  • 60 grams of sugar

It’s better to eat the Vietnamese spring rolls with the soya bean dipping sauce for an authentic experience. At the demonstration, the sauce was already prepared so I don’t have any step by step picture, however I was generously given a clear recipe on how to make it:

    1. Stir in tamarind pulp in 50 ml of hot water, then strain through a fine sieve and set aside.
    2. Steam the mung beans with 60 ml of water for about 20 minutes then blend together with the steaming water to form smooth paste. Set aside.
    3. Blend the soya bean into a smooth paste. Set aside.
    4. Next, heat up the oil in a pan, sautee the garlics till golden and throw in tamarind pulp paste, mung beans paste and soya bean paste. Stir till combined.
    5. Simmer for 10 minutes till mixture thickens.
    6. Remove from heat and allow to cool down before storing in fridge. This dipping sauce can be kept for up to a week.

Now that the soya bean dipping sauce is chilling nicely in the fridge, it’s time to make the Vietnamese spring rolls!

# – First of all, damp the rice paper with water and lay it on a flat surface. Don’t soak the rice paper otherwise it will be too difficult to handle. Imagine it’s a clockface and put a couple of butter lettuce leaves on the 6 o’clock area but leaving clear areas of about 1 inch on the sides and bottom.

# – Next, lay a couple of Vietnamese basil leaves over the lettuce.

# – Followed by a couple of strands of the rice vermicelli.

# – Then, place the julienne carrots over the vermicelli.

# – Fold, the bottom of the rice paper over the filling, then fold one side over.

# – Now fold the other side over.

# – Now place the 2 prawn halves on the rice papers with the orange sides down, as well as a couple of chives.

# – Carefully, fold the part with the filling over the prawns and continue rolling till you get….

# – Vietnamese Spring Roll! Serve with the soya bean sauce dipping prepared earlier.

I got to have a go at making the rolls too and I must say, it would take some practice before I could roll them up half as fast the Chefs did. It was nevertheless a very good experience for me to have learnt a new skill from Chef Tran Cong Tien.

# – Me having a go at making Vietnamese Spring Rolls.

Now that packet of rice papers I bought at the spur of the moment will see the light of day!

“Experience Vietnam” (16 May – 22 May, 2011)
Latest Recipe @ Le Meridien
2, Jalan Stesen Sentral, Kuala Lumpur Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
03-2263 7434

Experience Vietnam will still have the choice of the familiar and well known Latest Recipe International cuisine including Chinese, Western, Indian, Malay and Japanese dishes with prices remaining the same as the usual buffet; RM118++ per adult & RM59++ per child.