The reputation of this dish is such that one Ha Noi Street had its name changes to Cha Ca Street about 100 years ago, at the time, some might say, that the Ha Noi grilled chopped fish originated.
Once you are seated at the table, the waiter places the ingredients before you. First, there is sour shrimp paste sprinkled with lemon juice and beaten to a while froth. A few slices of red pepper are floating on top, and a few drops of wine are floating on top, and a few drops of wine are added to enhance the flavour. Next, a dish of glittering yellow coloured grilled groundnuts with their skins already pealed off is served. Then, a plate of rice vermicelli and scented greens, such as basil, coriander, and onions are served.
This presentation of colours, scents, and tastes is very inviting. The dinner anticipates the serving of the main dish. The waiter brings out a portable coal stove and places it on the table. The frying pan on the stove is already sizzling with oil. The fish paste, which is already grilled in the kitchen, is brought to the customer and put in the dish while it is being eaten.
Today many cities in Viet Nam have their own cha ca restaurants, but those of Ha Noi are the most famous for their quality.