‘Banh da cua’, a dish featuring banh da (locally-made flat rice noodles), crab meat, pork broth and vegetables, is the pride of the people in the northern port city of Hai Phong, just as 'pho' is to Hanoians.
If pho represents the delicateness of Hanoian cooks and food connoisseurs, banh da cua can be said to be an expression and demonstration of the traits of people from Hai Phong – sharp, bold and frank.
Banh da cua can be found in any street of the port city and can be had at any time of the day, from dawn to midnight.
Hai Phong’s banh da strip, white or dark brown, is wider than the normal noodle, carries a strong fragrance of rice and has a chewy texture.
To make banh da cua, Hai Phong people will use fresh banh da, dipping it into hot water and then putting it in the broth.
Cooks in other regions use dry banh da instead and soak it in cool water for several minutes before putting it in the broth.