Pila conica is a genus of large freshwater snails with a dark body, calcareous and white eggs, an operculum which is calcified at the inside. The meat of this snail is yellow, crunchy and sweet tasty. From Pila conica, Vietnamese people cook a lot of delicious dishes such as Boiled Pila conica with guava leaf, Steamed Pila conica with lemongrass, Curried Pila conica with lemongrass and chili pepper, Stir-fried with lemongrass and chili pepper, etc. Initially, people in Vietnam catch Pila conica in the wild. These days, this kind of snail is farmed in Vinh Thanh commune, Lap Vo district, Dong Thap province. It is easy to raise Pila conica. Just bury some Pila conica in the ground, the snails can be harvested after 3-4 months. Dong Thap province is well-known for big and tasty farmed Pila conica but also the unique dish from Pila conica – Pila conica hung in kitchen (Oc lac treo gian bep).
Any kind of snail can be used to make the Snail hung in kitchen (Oc treo gian bep). However, Pila conica is the best ingredient for this strange food. Choose the best Pila conica, wash them carefully, put them into bamboo baskets and hang the baskets in the kitchen where there is smoke generated by the ovens. During 4-5 months, the snails are still alive in the basket, they smell the smoke from the ovens so that their meat turn outstandingly and distinctively tasty and fragrant. Pila conica which is hung in the kitchen looks grey and dry. It is hard to open the operculum.
To cook Pila conica hung in kitchen, wash them to remove all of the dirt on its shell. Mix the snails with milk and eggs. After 20 minutes, the snails have drunk the mixture of milk and eggs. Prepare a pot, cover it with a layer of lemongrass, salt and a little of water. Cut the apexes of the snails, put them into the pot. Cook until boiling, shake the pot by hand for a few times, continue cooking for a few minutes.
Eating Pila conica hung in kitchen is an art. You should eat the snails slowly and in right way to taste it to the fullest. The yellow head and foot, the white organ attract diner so much. The snail is served with a sauce made from fish sauce, lemongrass, chili pepper. Pour some fish sauce dip, a drop of lime juice into the shell, and eat the flavorful broth in the shell. Dip the crunchy and tender snail meat in the sauce from lime juice, salt, chili pepper and tuck in. If you come to Dong Thap, do not miss this distinct food.
Pila conica is put into a pot with a mixture of milk and eggs
Pila conica hung in kitchen is served with herb and dipping sauce from lime juice, salt, chili pepper
Use a bamboo stick to get the meat from the shell of the snail
Read more about What to eat in Dong Thap?