The best way to someone’s heart is through their gut. I am obsessed with East Asian comfort food and, on rainy cold days I crave soup. But, it won’t just be your regular plain chicken noodle soup; I’m here to spice up your culinary taste palate. Let’s dive into Vietnamese cuisine with a hearty Súp Bắp Nấm Hương – to help you not butcher this soup’s name and learn a new word in another language that’s soup-bap-nam-who-ong for you – It has a similar base to a corn soup, but the toppings are much more exotic. The star of the dish is the Nấm hương or shiitake mushrooms. Wait! If you don’t like mushrooms you might take a liking to these. Shiitake mushrooms have a deeper umami flavour which resembles that nice wholesome flavour of say a succulent roast chicken or truffle than any other mushrooms. It is definitely an alternative for a robust meat flavour for vegetarians and vegans. My Vietnamese friend told me it’s an iconic street food back in her country where you can often find them in the markets.
In Asia, markets are more than a place to sell and buy fruits and vegetables, poultry, meats and fish. There are narrow alleys riddled with food corner shops with some like in Shanghai where it’s the legend of the first Xiao Long Bao – soup dumplings – were born. Past the hustle and bustle of the town Nanxiang, you’ll encounter Guyi Garden’s. There is a diner called ‘Ri Hua Xuan’ where these small tender pouches of meat, insides dripping with warm soup can be found. “Tasty” a food YouTube channel has an amazing coverage on this. Soup dumplings is a unique take on having soup whilst blending it with the Asian culture. So next time you visit Vietnam, Shanghai or even just your local Asian restaurant be sure to give these a try to warm up a cold rainy day.
Sammy is 17 years old and decided to get involved with Student Life to speak about different perspectives of cultural aspects. As he travels around the world he manages to understand different beliefs and attitudes, and he wants to share his experience with you.