In Mekong Delta, death anniversary is a chance for family members, relatives and neighbours gather to cook and eat delicious foods. Each region has its own menu at death anniversary. In Mekong Delta, they usually serve stew, hot pot, question cake with toasted pork, stuffed bitter melon with pork, braised pork and egg in caramel, soup cake, grilled mice and snakes, curried chicken/duck. Followings are some foods at death anniversary in Mekong Delta.
A stew is usually served with plain bread at death anniversary in Mekong Delta. They cook stew from pork, carrot, mushroom and bamboo shoot. All should be stewed until tender. The broth is enough for dinner to dip plain bread in it while eating pork and vegetables. Because it takes a few hours to cook the stew, they use a big pot and cook on wooden fire.
2. Hot pot
Mekong Delta is rich in freshwater animals and vegetables. Hot pot from eel, shrimp, fish and many kinds of fresh vegetables is a must at any party in this region. When eating, dinners put ready ingredients into pot with boiling broth on table. What’s better than cooking yourself and eating foods right after they are ready? All are fresh, hot and delicious.
3. Soup cake
Soup cake (Banh canh) is a specialty food of Mekong Delta. Banh canh noodle is made from rice flour, it’s thicker and shorter than rice noodle and Pho noodle. They cook the broth from duck and should cover noodles. This food is topped with duck meat and served with fish sauce dip with ginger.
4. Grilled mice and snakes
Mice and snakes are everywhere in Mekong Delta. They live in coconut trees, rice fields and bushes… Smelling and tasty grilled mice and snakes are favorite foods of locals. Local people love to eat these foods with mix of salt, ground black pepper and kumquat juice.
5. Cow cake
Cow cake originated in Mekong Delta. Main ingredients to make cow cake are rice flour, sugar, yeast, coconut milk and food colors (green juice of pandan leaves, purple juice of magenta plant). Soft, airy, light sweet cow cake is a favorite dessert at death anniversary.
6. Cylindrical glutinous rice cake
Ingredients to make cylindrical glutinous rice cake’s outer layer are glutinous rice, bean and food color (optional). Fillings are diverse, they can use banana or mung bean, pork belly as fillings. The cake is wrapped in banana leaves, cooked for 5-8 hours until tender and smelling. To eat, they cut into circles which look like flowers. Cylindrical glutinous rice cakes are not only offerings to gods and ancestors but also gifts for guests after the anniversary.
7. Question cake
White and tender Question cake (Woven rice sheet) made from rice flour is a favorite of locals. It’s usually rolled and served with toasted pork and fish sauce dip or soy sauce dip.
8. Stuffed bitter melon with ground pork
Bitter melon has bitter taste and it’s not easy to eat. However, this kind of vegetable is very good for human health. With meaning of “difficulties have gone”, tender Stuffed bitter melon with ground pork is a popular food at death anniversary and Tet festival in Vietnam.
9. Curried chicken
Curried chicken/duck cooked in Vietnamese style is a delicious Vietnamese food. Mekong Delta people eat this food with rice noodles or plain bread.
10. Braised pork and egg in caramel
Braised pork and egg in caramel is a famous Vietnamese food for its great taste. The caramel make the food has beautiful red brown color. The pork must be tender and eggs must be chewy. In Mekong Delta – region of coconut trees, they usually cook this food with coconut water and caramel made from coconut water.
If you have chance to come to Mekong Delta and attend a death anniversary, it’s a big chance to see how they do on this day. It’s not a chance to eat flavorful specialty foods but also learn about unique culture.