Let's explore the culinary culture with Mekong Delta tour Vietnam | Cruise Mekong River

Let’s explore the culinary culture with Mekong Delta tour Vietnam

“A street vendor” on the floating market
The Mekong Delta also called the Western Region or the Southwestern area is located in the southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong river flows and empties into the sea through its 9 distributaries. Without no doubt, this area has become one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam itinerary of many tourists. Joining a Mekong Delta tour Vietnam, tourists have the great opportunity to explore the soul land of the southwestern area of Vietnam. It offers to tourists more than just its charming landscape of the floating markets, the peaceful countryside, in addition, the food culture is one of the must-try when visiting the Mekong Delta.Now, you don’t have to wait anymore. Let’s try some typically famous dishes which are the heart of local cuisine in Mekong Delta.

  1. Lau Mam (Hotpot with macerated fish)

The first dish on the list of must-try food during the Mekong Delta tour is Lau Mam which is believed to be the symbol of the southwestern region. Because it reflects local people’s personalities: a strong and open-minded trait. A monumental hot pot of Lau Mam includes more than 35 kinds of vegetables and herbs which you feel easy to find anywhere in Mekong Delta. Some kinds of them can be mentioned as the essential ingredients are Dien Dien flowers, Sung flowers, Tai Tuong leaves, coconut vegetables, Nhut vegetables, banana flowers, mints, spinach, pennywort, chives, eggplant, chili, etc. Besides vegetables and herbs, there are “mam” (a special sauce made from fish – the main ingredient of Lau mam), shrimp, fresh fish, squid, fish ball, beef, chicken.

The fresh ingredients make a perfect hot pot of Lau Mam

The fresh ingredients make a perfect hot pot of Lau Mam

You may be first impressed by the colorful mixture of green, red, yellow from the ingredients. The smell deriving from the hot pot winds up your nose and makes your mouth watering.

The balance of color and taste is the key of Lau Mam

The balance of color and taste is the key of Lau Mam

How to eat a hot pot of Lau mam in the right way? Everybody sits around the hot pot cooked on a mini portable gas cooker. It creates the cozy atmosphere everyone can feel comfortable to sip a cup of rice wine and chat with each other. The ingredients are dipped into the boiling hot pot as many as you want to eat so that it usually takes more than 1 hour, even a half day to enjoy.

  1. Hu Tieu (clear rice noodle)

The next dish you should not miss in your Mekong Delta tour is Hu Tieu. Right after your arrival, order a bowl of Hu Tieu without hesitating.

The broth of Hu Tieu is cooked by simmering pork bone, pork leg, pork chop for at least 8 hours. During the process of simmer, the chef has always to keep an eye on the pot to remove the froth so that the broth must be clear and smelling. When you make an order, the seller put professionally a piece of Hu Tieu noodles, some slices of boiled pork meat, liver and a couple of fresh shrimps, then bean sprout, green onion, fried spring onion into a bowl before the hot broth is ladled over them. A bowl of Hu Tieu becomes more delicious if it is eaten with some herbs and vegetables.

A monumental bowl of Hu Tieu

A monumental bowl of Hu Tieu

Hu Tieu can be found anywhere in Vietnam, however, you can only enjoy “the true Hu Tieu” in Mekong Delta. The long noodles are tough and crunchy, moreover, the broth cooked in a traditional recipe handed down from generation to generation has a very special soft sweet taste.

It’s easy to find Hu Tieu in a lot of street vendors and famous noodles shops at an affordable price. It’s hard to describe, let enjoy on your own with a bowl of Hu Tieu. Absolutely, it brings to you a sense of calm and an unforgettable taste.

  1. Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Pancake or Sizzling crepe)

While strolling around a local market in the Mekong Delta tour, it’s easy to catch the images of a kind of specialty cake sold everywhere. This is Banh Xeo or Vietnamese sizzling crepe. Nowadays, under the effects of globalization, some international brands like hamburger and pizza have changed the flavor of Vietnamese people significantly. However, this trend has a few impacts on the Mekong Delta area, people there are still loyal with local sources to make their food. Banh Xeo is one of the best examples.

Nothing can stop you loving “Banh Xeo”

Nothing can stop you loving “Banh Xeo”

A piece of Banh Xeo seems to be simple, however, making it is actually an art. There are many steps in process of cooking this amazing cake. Firstly, the chosen rice must be in high quality, then it is soaked in water with a few salts before being ground into a combination of rice powder and water. After that, the mix is filtered by a thin cloth to remove the dregs until receiving the fine power which is qualified to make Banh Xeo. In order to make the cover of cake crunchy and tasty, chopped green onion, coconut milk and sugar are added into the mix of fine powder. Moreover, the turmeric powder is put into the mix to create the stunning yellow color for the cover. The fillings of Banh Xeo include mince of pork meat, shrimp and mushroom which are fried in advance.

Related post: Must-try delicious street food in Vietnam itinerary 7 day

It’s easy to see the sophistication of this dish

It’s easy to see the sophistication of this dish

Finally, the cook uses a deep-fry pan to fry the pancake. When the oil is boiled, pour a spoonful of powder into the pan, then cover with a lid for 1 minute. The most difficult step is to make a thin enough layer of powder liquid. After that, put the fillings into the layer of powder, fold the cake, cover the lid again and wait for a half of minute. When you hear the sound of “sizz”, take the cake to the plate immediately. Now, you can see people cooking this dish are actually artists. It’s highly recommended that you should eat right after the cake is cooked so that you can feel the hot crisp crepe.

people cooking Banh Xeo are actually artists

people cooking Banh Xeo are actually artists

Banh Xeo is eaten with some fresh herbs and especially a kind of sweet and sour sauce which is mixed by water, fish sauce, sugar, lime, chili, pepper, some slices of carrot.

  1. Bun Rieu Cua (crab noodles soup).

Of course, most of Mekong Delta tours take travelers to visit the floating market. This is a cool opportunity not only to discover how closely the life of local people attaches with the river but also to explore the culinary culture of the beautiful land. Among thousands of boat selling different merchandises on the river, you can still find some small boats selling a kind of dish considered as the quintessence of the floating market: Crab noodles soup.

“A street vendor” on the floating market

“A street vendor” on the floating market

People in Mekong Delta have gained great benefits from a swamp system on the riverside, especially crab. Crabs there are amazingly delicious and cheap, therefore, local people make the best use of this fresh ingredient to cook various dishes. It takes many steps to make a bowl of crab noodles soup.

Firstly, crabs need to be cleaned up, then peeled off to take the crab paste, the rest of its body is ground. After that, the cook filters the mix of ground crab and water so that they have a special liquid which will be cooked to be broth. It depends on the recipe of each cook, the broth is cooked with different elements like ginger, onion, tomato, and other secret ingredients.

The cook puts rice noodles, some shrimp or crab balls, tofu puffs into a bowl topped with sliced onions, chopped green onions, bean sprouts before the broth is ladled to fill the bowl. You can flexibly change the taste of Bun Rieu with lime, pepper, chili, and other herbs to meet your own flavor.

The impressive bowl of crab noodle soup

The impressive bowl of crab noodle soup

A bowl of crab noodles soup is at a cheap price but it actually brings to you more than the expensive dishes do. The sellers are also the cooks who are not professional, they just perform what they were taught about their family own recipe. They choose the ingredients very strictly in order to have the freshest ones. It’s strongly believed that the success of one dish derives from the cook because the people in Mekong Delta cook not only with their excellent ingredients but also with their heart.

Enjoying a hot bowl of crab noodles soup while watching the hustle and bustle of the floating market in the morning is definitely one of the most memorable moments of your trip in Mekong Delta. Let’s check it out.

Enjoy a bowl of hot Vietnamese noodles soup right on the boat

Enjoy a bowl of hot Vietnamese noodles soup right on the boat

The list of dishes above is just a corner of the food culture of people in Mekong Delta, if you have time, try to eat other specialties in the delta such as a hot pot with Siamese mud carp and common sesban flower, broken rice, Pia cake, coconut candy, soup cake and so forth. Because your trip will not be completed until you enjoy the unique cuisine of the Mekong Delta.

Therefore, do not hesitate to buy some specialties as gifts for your family and friends after getting back from the Mekong Delta tour.

 

IV Blogger