Fancy some roasted peanuts? What about lạc rang húng lìu which hails from Hanoi? Lạc rang húng lìu or spiced roasted peanuts is a delicious snack that can be enjoyed by all ages (well, as long as you have good teeth 😜). It’s awesome with a cup of tea, wine or beer. I reckon it’ll be awesome in ice-cream, pastry or salad. Lạc rang means roasted peanuts while húng lìu is a spice seasoning powder comprises of four or five ingredients such as cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves and sometimes sweet basil.
Húng lìu is the Vietnamese version of Chinese’s five-spice powder though they are quite different in flavors. Besides roasted peanuts, húng lìu is also used in meat marinating especially pork, beef, duck and seafood. The meat is usually roasted, grilled or stewed. The flavor of húng lìu may differ slightly depending on the proportion of the spices used and mixing method. Btw, húng lìu means sweet basil. Surprise! Surprise!
Bảo Hương lạc rang húng lìu. Notice that the peanuts are quite similar in size. It’s an important aspect of lạc rang húng lìu.
I will leave the detailed process of making lạc rang húng lìu to the expert (one’s that well-versed in making it) but know that it involves using good quality peanuts of similar sizes, soaking the peanuts with húng lìu and other ingredients like salt and sugar, then drying the peanuts and finally roasting it with clean sand to prevent the peanuts from burning. The result is these peanuts that look very common but with unique aromas.
I bought this Bảo Hương lạc rang húng lìu at Ô Mai Hồng Lam during my second last day in Hanoi. It weighs 500g and cost 65,000 VND (~RM11.65). The thick plastic packaging is vacuumed pack to ensure freshness and yup it was crunchy alright. The peanuts expire 3 months from manufacturing date.
The ingredients in Bảo Hương lạc rang húng lìu is lạc nhân (peanuts), đường kính (sugar), húng lìu (spice seasoning) and đường saccarin (artificial sweetener).
The spiced roasted peanuts from Bảo Hương is reddish brown in color. The peanuts tasted special and yet familiar with a light hint of fragrant from the herb and spices. The nuts have a mild sweetness. It’s more sweet than salty. It’s definitely very addictive. I ate it as a snack as is.
Even after emptying the packet, I didn’t know what constitutes the húng lìu. All I knew is it’s some sort like five-spice powder. It’s when writing this post did I learned what húng lìu is made of and how lạc rang húng lìu is made. If you happen to be in Hanoi, remember to try it! If you have eaten it before, let me know whether you like it.
This is the third and final traditional Vietnamese snack posts that I’m sharing with you. I cannot not share because they are delicious and uniquely Vietnam. The other two are bánh đậu xanh and bánh chả. Enjoy!