"White Rose (Banh Bao Banh Vac), a type of shrimp dumpling made from translucent white dough bunched up to look like a rose.
The recipe for these dumplings is a secret, held by one family in Hoi An who supplies all the restaurants. At 533, Hai Ba Trung Street, Tran Tuan Ngai is a third generation secret keeper of the traditional white rose recipe".
We read these words on the printed menu with much excitement. We had planned to make a stop at Lo Banh Bao Banh Vac (White Rose Restaurant), to have a taste of the famous white rose. There are only two items on the menu at this shop, the other being Hoi An Pizza (VND100,000/USD5/ RM20) or Fried Wonton (Hoanh Thanh Chien) "Resembling tortillas due to their large size, these crispy wontons are filled with shrimp and topped with a tomato roulade".
We opted for just an order of the White Rose (VND70,000/USD3.50/ RM14) as we had to leave room for more food since our food quest was still in the early stage for the day!
It did look rather pretty, I could see why they call it White Rose. Biting into one after dipping it into the light tangy dip, I wasn't particularly awed by the taste but was more intrigued with what was inside. Apart from the shrimp, I couldn't pin the ingredients down. It was similar to "gau chi" - turnip with dried shrimps translucent skin dumpling back in Malaysia and there's even a variety with chives too. In my opinion, I rate the Malaysian "gau chi" better in taste and the White Rose better in looks! However, having said that... one must try the White Rose when in Hoi An.. just because! Then you can say "I ate a White Rose!".
I did like the fact that there were generous toppings of fried shallot and garlic which are an essential part of this dish. Well, it was great to find out how exactly Hoi An's White Rose tastes like since it's a Hoi An famous "must eat" food item. White Rose - checked! Next!
To Be Continued ...