the secret cao lau factory (so secret it's not even in the location marked here)
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The Cao Lau Maker
The Cao Lau Maker
When I traveled to Hoi An, the prettied-up UNESCO-protected town on Vietnam's central coast for AFAR, I wanted to unravel the mysteries of the town's iconic (and secretive) noodle (and noodle dish of the same name), cao lau. One family has had a monopoly on making the noodle for generations and no one knows exactly how it's made. After some work (and talking to the right people), I was allowed into the family's lair. The above photo shows Em, the family patriarch, pounding away at the rice dough that is steamed and, eventually, formed into the thick, chewy noodles known as cao lau.
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Ba Le well
Don't forget that the noodles have to be made with water from the Ba Le well in Hoi An.

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