When you take a tour to Vietnam, there’s a destination that you have to once come to, that’s one of the biggest deltas of Vietnam, Mekong Delta.
The ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is a landscape carpeted in a dizzying variety of greens and slashed with mighty waterways. It’s a water world where boats, houses, restaurants and even markets float upon the innumerable rivers, canals and streams that flow through the region like arteries. At times you can quite simply lose sight of land.
In this land, the water is the veins of life. And also in Mekong, there are some cuisines that you should never miss when you are making tours to Mekong Delta.
1. Danio dangila fish soup pot and Legume
When the rain starts to fall and the water starts to rise, the fishes from the upstream will also travel down to the flat land to lay eggs. The baby dangilas are small and their meat is fresh and juicy. The fat fresh fish will be cleaned, gutted and re-cleaned with hot water and dried.
Danio dangila fish soup pot and Legume
Depends on the region that the broth of the soup is cooked in so many different ways. Some regions boil the pig’s bones, some reused the fish bone to extract the sweetness, and some use the coconut milk to create a tender sweetness. The other important part of this dish is the legume. The recent-picked legume and other type of vegetable will be put together into the boiling broth.
2. Wooden-barrel grilled paddy field mice
The Mekong special cuisine that not many tourists have the courage to try. The mice that use to cook the dish are those have eaten the rice, so they are fat and rich in flavor. They are cleaned, marinated in spices for about 15 minutes, and then they will be hooked into the barrel. As the mice are being rotated, the chef will add in some grease, some spices until the mice are cooked, or have the color yellow.
Wooden-barrel grilled paddy field mice
The meat is eaten with cucumber, lakas leaves, salt and chili. The meat is delicious, the skin is crunchy and the smell is awfully good.
3. Braised Gobies and Danio dangila with coconut milk
In the rising season, the gobies and dangila can be found in any marketplace. The best ways to make these fishes even more delicious are to braise them with pepper and coconut milk. The fishes are cleaned, marinated with spices, braised in a clay pot, added in coconut milk, and cooked on small fire.
Braised Gobies and Danio dangila with coconut milk
The dishes are eaten with white rice. Simple yet flavorful, just like the people of Mekong, simple but full of hospitality.
4. Vietnamese pancake and legume
The cake is made from the rice flour, mixed with the coconut milk; add in some turmeric flour so the cake can have the yellowish outside. The inside is minced pork and legume. The legume pancake has the extensive flavors of turmeric, coconut milk, pork, shrimp, grease, cilantro, garlic, onion, pepper, many other ingredients, and of course the legume. The cake is served along with other vegetables like Lagerstroemia, mango bud…
Vietnamese pancake and legume
5. Water- lilies and fish sauce
Water-lilies grow in the field, in the lowland area with mud. When the rising season comes is also the time for lilies to rise with the water. The farmers will collect the lilies, usually intact. They are cleaned from the mud, stripped the outer, sliced into small straw about two inches, and left to dry.
Water- lilies and fish sauce
The sauce is usually the dangila sauce or Gourami sauce… The fish’s bone is removed, the lemongrass is added in, then shrimp, then mussels or snakehead fish right the time the sauce is boiled. The final sauce will have the spicy of chili, lemongrass, the sweetness of shrimp, the crunch of the lilies, creating a unique yet bucolic flavor of the Mekong.
Sounds really exciting, right!
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s make Vietnam tours and taste the amazing dishes of this place! I believe it will be one of the most memorable experience in your life.