One of the most popular and extraordinary dishes in Vietnam is pig’s offal congee (cháo lòng), a traditional dish favourite to many Vietnamese people and foreigners (if you have the guts).
What is ‘cháo lòng’?
‘Cháo lòng’ is a term referring to pig’s offal congee, a very special instance of congee in Vietnam. It is cooked the same way as the other kinds of congee with the combination of the broth made from pig bones or boiled water of pig’s offal and of course, the unmissable ingredient: boiled pig’s offal. ‘Cháo lòng’ is very common among Vietnamese people, especially to the working class people in the past, thanks to its cheap and affordable price. You can find ‘cháo lòng’ anywhere all across Vietnam, from the North to the South.
A hot ‘cháo lòng’ bowl in Hồ Chí Minh City. Photo: http://forum.diadiemanuong.com
The ingredients of ‘cháo lòng’
The ingredients for making ‘cháo lòng’ usually consist of four main groups of food and spices:
- For the broth: the pig bones may be cut, chopped, broken into small pieces then cooked in fresh water, combined with some salt, spring onions or onion. Chefs may sometimes use the boiled pig’s offal water to make the broth for the congee.
Filtering congee broth. Photo: http://hoiquanamthuc.com
- The rice: ordinary rice or sticky rice must be roasted in a hot pan until turning gold, and then cooked, usually one cup of rice in 2.5 liters of water. Some places even bray the rice until soft and smooth, and some leave the full grains so that the grain open up when cooked (porridge.)
Washing the rice. Photo: Internet.
- Pig’s offals: heart, kidney, liver, spleen, stomach, intestine, tongue,etc.
- Spices: chili powder, pepper powder, spring onion, bean sprouts.
A dish of raw vegetables: basil, lemongrass,etc. to eat with the congee.
Fish sauce, sliced ginger, fresh chilies, lemon slices,etc. for those who want additional favours.
A play of spices and magic. Photo: diadiemdulich.com
- Additionally, in the South, people like to have ‘cháo lòng’ with ‘bánh quảy’, a special cake roll to eat with congee.
If you are interested in dish one-of-a-kind dish, feel free to read on to my next article, the one where I will introduce you to some of the most famous cháo lòng places in Vietnam. Stay tuned!
If you have any problem travelling in Vietnam, whether it’s food problem or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more assistance. We would be thrilled to help.