The exact name of fried egg dumplings is “cha day”, a rustic name that people in Ve village gave to this traditional food. This exquisite eatery contributes to the diversity and beauty of Hanoi traditional food.
Simple but special name
To express all the meaning of this unique dish, this article calls it as “cha day”. The word “cha” is not strange to people who love Hanoi local food tours, it is the various kinds of grilled meatball. However, “day” is not an easy word to understand.
The word “day” is a local and ancient word. It describes the shape of the dish which is created by the skillful hand of the cooks. “Day” means the bag.
Ve village is the folkway of calling Dong Ngac village, a village at foot of Thang Long bridge. Ve village is the oldest village in Hanoi.
Ve villagers in the past were studious. There were also many successful students in this village. Therefore, cha day is the symbol of the bag that the women in Ve village prepared for their son, brother or even husband to attend the important examination. Inside the bag, there were not only the books, inkstone, ink brush, inkstick and paper but also the wishes and the love of Ve village women.
That is also the reason why this dish is made of the simple ingredients purely from the countryside.
The adroitness in making cha day
Cha day is not a sophisticated dish, but to make the eye-catching bag-shaped dumplings, the skillfulness is really needed.
The ingredients to make cha day consist of shrimp, pork shoulder, onion, shiitake, carrot, duck egg, coriander and spices (oil, shallot, pepper, salt, fish sauce…)
Diced shrimp, carrot, shiitake, onion and minced pork are stir-fried with each other. This is the fillings of cha day.
The egg is beaten with a little fish sauce and pepper. To make the thin wrapper from egg, people do not use much oil, and the pan is coated with a thin layer of oil. The egg is fried many times to make the wrapper for the fillings. When the surface of the egg has not been firm yet, the cooks quickly scoop the filling with a small spoon. Then the egg wrapper is folded in half. The skilled cooks use chopsticks to fold the egg dumpling into a tiny bag. Finally, the bags are tied with the coriander.
The bag of fried egg dumpling must be small enough for one bite. When eating, the diners dip the dumplings into the sweet and sour sauce then put the whole “bag” in the mouth to enjoy the fragrance and the flavor of this dish.
Nowadays, cha day is introduced in some Hanoi cooking class for both Vietnamese women and the foreigners to keep the beauty in Hanoi culinary culture.