Cho Gao district in Tien Giang province (Mekong Delta) is famous for Grilled pork cake (Cha nuong). The food is not only cooked for meals but also festivals, death anniversary, first birthday party.
The main ingredient of this dish is pork shoulder which becomes more tender as it cooks and benefits from a lengthy cook time. The pork is washed, boiled until well-done, sliced thinly, stir-fried with shallot and garlic. Then the stir-fried pork is mixed with duck egg, shallot, garlic, ground pepper and fish sauce.
Local cook uses a cast iron pot to grill Cha nuong to make sure the inside of the dish is well-done. Cover the pot with a layer of banana leaves, then coat the banana layer with a thin layer of oil. These two layers add flavor to the Grilled cake help the cook get it out of the pot more easily. Put the pork mixture into the pot, shake the pot for a while to make sure all of the ingredients are mixed well, then add a thin layer of egg yolk on top of the mixture. Grill the cake for about half of an hour on charcoal. Use a chopstick to check if the inside of the cake is well-done.
To serve, the Grilled pork cake is cut into pieces. People in Cho Gao wrap vegetables and herbs in rice paper into a roll The roll is cut into 5-cm-long chunks which are served with Cha nuong and sweet and sour dipping sauce.
Grilled pork cake in Cho Gao is impressive thanks to delicious taste and the way it is served. The sweet-tasty and a little chewy Cha nuong, fresh veggies and herbs, sweet and sour dipping fish sauce go well together. The dish is one of the hidden gems of the region. Do not miss Cha nuong on your trip to Mekong Delta.