Street food: Nam 76

Mushroom, mushroom and more mushroom! Words by me. Edits by Nick Ross. The article was originally published on Word Hanoi Issue June 2013

Photo credit: Nam Viet 76 Lo Duc’s Facebook Page.

“Image you are on the hunt for mushroom in the forest, and oops, there appeared rare type like chanterelles or truffle. It would be absolutely breathtaking” my French friend eagerly told me with his bright and excited eyes when asked about mushroom hunting in France. “You can easily find a wide range of edible mushrooms in France’s fields and forests”.

“But it’s a pity that in Hanoi, it is not easy to find mushrooms for your meal, not to mention the mushroom hunting experience. This makes a foreigner like me sometimes feel home sick!”.

Hungry for the ‘Shrooms

Admittedly, not only expats but also Hanoians find it hard to buy mushrooms for their daily meals. For mushroom fanatics, it’s common when they do not feel safe buying mushroom in street markets due to the anonymous origin.

So where to buy fresh and clean mushrooms for your daily needs? Nấm Việt could be an ideal answer for you. The shops, 76 Lò Đúc and 1B Lê Ngọc Hân are where you can both buy organic and fresh mushrooms for home-cooked meals and enjoy a range of dishes with mushroom-main-ingredient menu.

Nấm 76 is an eatery opened by a couple of young Hanoians who really want to promote organic and fresh mushrooms. Gourmets will be surprised with the diverse offer of dishes with mushrooms, from main courses to dessert. Hanoians who have been long associated mushroom with hotpot and expensive restaurants would be surprised at mushroom sticky rice, mushroom soup or mushroom dry noodles, or even mushroom pâté and mushroom ice-cream. This is also known as the 1st eatery in Hanoi offering sticky rice with mushroom.

Photo credit: Nam Viet 76 Lo Duc’s Facebook Page.


New flavors and foods 

As a first-time customer, you would certainly ask, with so many dishes, which one is worth a try?

The main dish that makes the eatery popular since its early days and is still now considered the soul of the shop is Xôi nấm or sticky rice with mushroom. There are 4 versions of it available for your choice: mushroom sticky rice with salted shredded mushroom, or with braised pork, mushroom pâté, or mixed. “Compared to traditional sticky rice with chicken or braised pork, mushroom sticky rice is worth for a change as it does not make you feel fat. Also, the sweet that you feel in mushroom sticky rice is really different. It is only achieved by steaming sticky rice in mushroom broth, which makes the sticky rice soft and lightly sweet. Remember to mix them carefully and enjoy while hot, you will feel both its savory smell and wonderful blend of taste” Thuy Lan, young shop owner said.

“For vegetarian, a bowl of soup with mushroom would be ideal for them. We cook the soup with shiitake and oyster mushroom. If you associate vegetarian food with tedious taste, you will change their mind” she continued.

In summer, gourmets can taste dry rice noodle with mushroom and grilled pork, mushroom nem or mushroom-wrapped beef. These meats are dipped into a cool herbs & vegetable sauce. “The secret in this dish is the grilled mushroom. Few people may know that grilling mushroom is such a hard job as under heat, mushroom easily loses the inside-water and becomes crushed. We used to try times by times, failure by failure to find out how to grill mushroom yet maintain its fresh and crisp feature” Lan said.

At Nấm 76, mushroom fanatics would be surprised with modern dishes with mushroom like pizza with mushroom, which tastes quite good and mushroom pâté and mushroom ice-cream, both are home-made products by Lan’s friends. Another one is grilled ribs with mushroom and special mushroom sauce, favored by many young Hanoians.

“From the beginning, our hope is to promote organic mushroom to as a healthy daily food as well as encourage organic lifestyle. It would be great if we can organize eco tour to invite people to the organic mushroom farm in Soc Son, where grow fresh mushroom for our shops every day”.




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