Soup cake (Banh canh) is a Vietnamese traditional rice noodle soup which has won the heart of all ages. The comfort, flavorful and healthy soup cake is served hot as a meal which can fulfill your stomach. Soup cake with ocean crab and fish cake is one of must-try dish in Phu Quoc island, Kien Giang province. A bowl of Soup cake with ocean crab and fish cake consists of rice noodles, broth, toppings, vegetables, herbs, and dip.
Rice noodles of soup cake are thicker and shorter than rice noodles of other kinds of Vietnamese rice noodle soups. The broth of this dish is cooked from pork bone, dried shrimp, mackerel head. Not similar to the others, the broth of Soup cake with ocean crab is not clear but a little gelatinous. Topped with a whole ocean crab which has firm, tasty and smelling flesh, a bowl of Soup cake with ocean crab in Phu Quoc impresses diner at the first look. A dip from salt and green pepper is a must to be served with this rice noodle soup.
There is one kind of savory steamed glutinous rice (Xoi man) which is simply topped with ground dried shrimp. There are two kinds of sweet Steamed glutinous rice: steamed glutinous rice with mango (Xoi xoai) and Steamed glutinous rice with egg (Xoi hot ga). In Ha Tien, they steam high-quality glutinous rice until pleasant and sticky. Xoi xoai is topped with mung bean and mango. Steamed glutinous rice with egg is topped with a yellow, viscous, sweet, and fragrant steamed glutinous rice with the sauce made from egg white, durian flesh, rice flour and sugar and stir-fried shredded coconut meat with palm sugar.
The dish consists of the broth cooked from various freshwater fishes and fish bones, rice noodles, toppings (fish flesh, wild shrimp), vegetables, and herbs. Freshwater fishes caught in rice fields, lakes, ponds, swamps are used to cook this dish. Choosing fresh fishes is the most important step in cooking this kind of dish. Big and plumpy snakeheads which have sweet-tasty, tender but chewy, and very smelling are chosen. Boil snakeheads, separate the flesh and bones. The flesh is used to top the dish. The bones are ground, put into a cloth bag and used to cook the broth with other kinds of fishes which are smaller than snakehead. Cooked from fresh freshwater fishes, the broth is smooth, rich and very fragrant.
Rach Gia rice noodle soup with fish is topped with white snakehead flesh, yellow, buttery fish egg or steamed ground fresh shrimp and egg yolk, orange stir-fried peeled wild shrimp, and herbs, usually coriander and green onion. The dish is served with vegetables (shredded banana blossom), lime wedge, chili pepper (minced, sliced or whole).
Bun ken restaurants and stalls are everywhere in Ha Tien. According to local people, the rice noodle soup is a favorite dish of Khmer people in Ha Tien. Khmer people call dishes which are cooked from coconut milk “ken”, so that the name “Bun ken” comes from the word “ken” in Khmer language. In Vietnamese “ken” means trumpet. So that we call this dish Trumpet rice noodle soup in English.
The rice noodle soup is served as a meal, it consists of rice noodles, broth, dried shrimp as topping, vegetables and herbs, dipping sauce.
The broth which is cooked from fishes is the soul of the dish. Ha Tien people choose sea water fishes such as Barracuda to cook the broth. Grind the fish flesh, stir-fry it with lemongrass, chili pepper, turmeric powder or turmeric juice. Then cook the stir-fried fish flesh in second and third extract coconut milk, seasoning the broth with spices (sugar, salt). While fish sauce is used to seasoning most of the broths for other Vietnamese rice noodle soups, the fish sauce must not be used to cook the broth for Bun ken. When the fish is well-done, turn off the heat, add first coconut milk and annatto oil. The greasy, sweet-tasty broth is ready to be served. The yellow color and special taste and smell of the broth come from turmeric. Annatto oil makes the broth more attractive. Coconut milk makes the dish greasy and sweet. What a perfect mix of all ingredients!
To serve, pour the hot broth into the bowl with some rice noodles, the broth must cover the noodles. Top the dish with dried shrimp. Aromatic herbs, vegetables including shredded green papaya, crunchy, juicy bean sprouts, and delicious fish sauce for dipping are also served with the dish. Lime wedges and chili pepper slices are available at the table so that diners can add sour and hot tastes to the dish at their wishes.
Anadara subcrenata is a kind of clam which is a favorite food in Vietnam. Salad with banana blossom and Anadara subcrenata is a specialty food of Kien Giang province. To make the salad, mix Anadara subcrenata meat, thinly sliced boiled pork belly, shredded banana blossom with a dressing made from fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, chili pepper. The dish is topped with some crushed peanuts and served with chopped Vietnamese mint and pickled onion slices. When eating, diners can feel the crunchy banana blossom, the tender but crunchy clam meat, the fatty pork belly, sweet and sour pickled onion, the crunchy peanuts, and Vietnamese mint which has a strong mint flavor.
One of the most famous food specialties is Fermented lingula anatina which travelers should not miss. Lingula anatina has the shell which consists of 2 valves and 1 long tender tail. It looks scary so that not many travelers know that this species could be eaten. After harvesting, lingula anatina is washed, the tails are removed. Then arrange lingula anatina and salt/refined salt in layers in a jar.
Ferment lingula anatina can be stored for a long time. It is better to ferment lingula anatina with salt in the morning and stir-fry the fermented lingula anatina in the evening on the same day when the lingula anatina meat is still fresh and not very salty. Just stir-fry fermented lingula anatina with garlic, sugar and black pepper. To eat, get the meat from the shell and eat with steamed rice.
Originated in Cambodia, Steamed clear rice noodle recipe has been changed to meet the local taste and products in Ha Tien. Dry clear rice noodles are steamed until tender but a little chewy. To serve, put some julienned cucumber, bean sprouts at the bottom of a bowl, then put steamed clear rice noodles onto the veggies, top the noodles with grilled pork, pork skin strips, spring rolls, herbs, crushed peanuts, pickled carrots and daikons, chopped chili pepper (optional). Pour coconut milk sauce onto toppings. If diners don’t like the greasiness of coconut milk sauce, they can ask for sweet-sour fish sauce dip to eat with the dish.