Out of around 80 ancient wells in Hoi An, the square mouthed Ba Le Well is the most legendary and as one would expect, many mystical stories are associated with this well.
This well, which dates back to the 10th century Cham people, is no ordinary well. Apart from being a water source for the townsfolk, its cool alum-free water is said to be the essential ingredient for Hoi An’s iconic Cau Lau. This dish consists of noodles, pork slices and crackling, raw vegetables, scalded soya sprouts and a little strongly flavored broth. The noodles are made from rice soaked in water containing ash from burnt trees in Cu Lao Cham, which means the noodles retain their distinctive crispness and dryness. The water used to husk the rice should come from the Ba Le Well. As an aside, water from the Ba Le Well is also reputed to have medicinal properties for the townsfolk. Mr Ba Lo Le who looks after the well, which is in his garden at 45 Phan Chau Trinh Street, delivers the water to nearby poor families.
It is said that Cau Lau cannot be authentically be replicated outside Hoi An precisely because of the Ba Le Well water.