1. My Tho clear rice noodle soup
My Tho clear rice noodle soup was recognized as Asian records, announced by Asian Records Organization in 2013. Similar to most of the Vietnamese noodle soups, Hu tieu My Tho consists of 4 part: the rich broth, the tender and sticky clear rice noodles, flavorful toppings, fresh vegetables, and herbs. The rich broth (Nuoc leo) is usually cooked from familiar ingredients such as pork thighbone, pork, dried squid, dried shrimp, daikon, etc. In comparison to other kinds of clear rice noodles, My Tho clear rice noodles are thinner, more transparent, crunchier. The dish is topped with poached seasoned ground pork, pig’s small intestine, toasted ground dried shrimp, deep-fried pork fat, pork liver, char siu pork, coriander, green onion, napa cabbage. The noodles, toppings and broth are served hot in a soup bowl while fresh and aromatic vegetables and herbs served on a plate. Before eating, dinners put veggies into the bowl. They usually dip the toppings into fish sauce. This kind of noodle soup can win the hearts of any dinners, including hard-to-please ones.
Main ingredients of this dish are rice, snakehead, knotgrass, Fermented soybeans, green onion, and herbs. Big snakehead caught in the wild is the best choice for this porridge for its firm, sweet-tasty flesh. The fish flesh could be served with the porridge in one bowl or separately on a plate. Chopped green onion, minced herbs are topped on the porridge to make it good-looking and tastier. Local like to eat Porridge with snakehead and knotgrass with Fermented soybeans which has a very special taste and smell. The perfect mix of the wild snakehead and bitter knotgrass has made the dish beloved by most Mekong Delta people as well as visitors from other regions of Vietnam and other countries.
3. Goi gia rice noodle soup
Like Hu tieu, Goi gia rice noodle soup consists of the broth, the rice noodles, toppings (boiled peeled shrimp, boiled pork ribs, boiled pork belly slices), fresh vegetables, and herbs. The key of this dish is Fermented soybeans which are used to season the broth, make the dipping sauce, and make the dish different from other Vietnamese rice noodle soups. The sour, clear, sweet and rich broth cooked from pork bone, Fermented soybeans, and tamarind is the highlight of the dish.
4. Va cake
Coming to Giong market in Go Cong Tay district, Tien Giang province, travelers should not miss this amazingly tasty and smelling cake. It is named after “va” ladle – the tool used to fry it. The cake is as small as a cupcake and has a shape like a ladle. According to local people, this cake reminds us of a sad love in Go Cong.
Banh va’s crust is made from rice flour, tapioca starch, soybean flour, egg. Its filling is made from wild shrimp, pork, pork liver, bean sprouts, wood ears, straw mushrooms, napa cabbage, mung beans, pig brains, and oil (or pork fat). Frying step of Va cake is very important step because it decides the shape, taste, and texture of the cake. Add a layer of the mixture from flours to the bottom of “va” ladle, add the fillings, then add another layer of flour mixture onto the fillings, top the ladle with a few shrimps and peanuts. Dip the ladle into boiling oil (or pork fat). When the cake is well-shaped, the cook carefully gets it out of the ladle and continue frying until crispy outside, airy outside, brown-yellow and well-cooked.
Va cake is cut into quarters, served with rice noodles, vegetables, herbs, pickles and fish sauce dip. All of the crispy and crust, buttery pork liver, sweet-tasty pork, juicy bean sprout, crunchy wood ears, tender straw mushroom, a little chewy rice noodles, sweet and sour fish sauce dip fresh veggies, and aromatic herbs make a great dish.
Bloating fern-shaped cake (or Banh beo) is a familiar, strange and tasty food which is round, thin, looking like a leaf of green water fern. Eating Banh beo at street food shoulder poles at Hang Bong local market in My Tho city, Tien Giang province is the best way to enjoy the cake to its fullest and immerse yourself in local life. There are two types of Banh beo at the market: savory and sweet.
The savory one consists of 3 parts: the plain cake made from rice flour; the filling made from dried shrimp, mung bean, pork skin, deep-fried onion, bread; the dipping sauce made from fish sauce, sugar, garlic, chili pepper. The cook pours the mixture of rice flour, water, fat into small bowls in a steamer and steams them until tender, a little chewy and pleasant. Savory Banh beo can be eaten hot or cold. To serve, the seller tops savory dried shrimp, buttery mung bean paste, crunchy pork skin strips, crispy deep-fried cubes of bread onto the white cake. The dipping sauce is made from fish sauce, water, lime, sugar, chili pepper, garlic, pickled shredded carrots and daikon. To eat, dinner uses a spoon to pour the dip into each small bowl of Banh beo, then cut the cake and tuck in with a bamboo knife.
The buttery, greasy and very smelling sweet Bloating fern-shaped cake is made from rice (or rice flour), coconut cream, pandan juice or magenta juice. The filling is made from mung bean and coconut cream.
6. Nau man
The slightly salty, slightly sour and hot (optional) Nau man with broth just covering the fish is not a soup but not a braised dish. It is a mix of 2 popular dishes in Mekong Delta: Sweet and sour soup, Braised fish in caramel. Nau man are fish which does not have scales, tomato (optional), green onion, coriander, salt, chili pepper, lime (or vinegar). The recipe is easy. Put prepared fishes (whole or cut) into boiling water, add tomato if needed. Then seasoning the dish with spices. When the fishes are well-done, add some green onions and coriander to make the dish smelling and good-looking. Nau man is a good choice on busy days for simple recipes, easy-to-find ingredients, rich nutrition, comfort and great flavor.
Nau man is served in a bowl like serving soup. Local people like to eat the dish with various vegetables, including many wild vegetables such as yellow velvetleaf, Derris trifoliata leaf, Enydra fluctuans. To eat, dinner adds lime juice to the bowl of Nau man, the broth turns milky white. The dish looks nice with red tomato, white fish, green onions. It is really a comfort dish for not only summer but also cold days.
7. Cho Gao grilled cake
Cho Gao district in Tien Giang province (Mekong Delta) is famous for Grilled pork cake (Cha nuong). 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, a thin layer of oil, the pork and egg mixture, and lastly a thin layer of egg yolk. Grill the cake for about half of an hour.
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.
8. Grilled snakehead
Grilled snakehead or Ca loc nuong trui is a specialty dish which visitors could not miss in Tien Giang. The outstanding taste of the food comes from great ingredients and unique method of cooking. Main ingredients of Ca loc nuong trui is snakehead which should be caught in the wild, big and fresh. It is prepared, washed with unrefined salt, and drained off. Except for the bitter galangal, the fish guts are retained. They do not grill the fish on charcoal but with rice straws. The grilled fish meat must be well-done and tender inside, not too dry, not too burnt outside and very fragrant. The grilled snakehead is served on a plate with various vegetables, and herbs. The sweet, salty, sour and hot dipping sauce made from fish sauce, lime, garlic, chili pepper is an important part of this specialty. Wrapping smelling and tender white grilled snakehead meat in crunchy young lotus leaves, dipping in sweet-sour fish sauce and tuck in, dinner can feel the soul of the countryside of Tien Giang.
9. Tan Phong rice snail
Tan Phong Island in Tien River is administrated by Tan Phong commune, Cai Lay district, Tien Giang province. Tan Phong Island is well-known for rice snails. The snails here is usually big with the turquoise shells thanks to the alluvial sand. Around April and May on the lunar calendar, the basin of Tan Phong Island is crowded with snail-catching boats.
The best method of cooking rice snail is boiling. The yellow, greasy, sweet-tasty and crunchy boiled snails are dipped in sweet, sour and hot fish sauce dip made from lime, sugar, fish sauce, ginger, chili pepper. Ginger makes your stomach warm and removes the odor of the snails. Boiled snail meat is used to cook porridge with green onions, ground black pepper, and ginger. The porridge with snail is very comfortable, healthy and flavorful. Other difficult rice snail recipes cooked by Tan Phong people are Stir-fried rice snail with garlic and fat, Stewed rice snail in coconut water, Roasted rice snail with butter. These snail dishes and wine go well together. Sipping some wine while eating snails is one of the most favorite things to do on this island. Tourists can feel the hospitality of local people through these specialty foods.
10. Go Cong horseshoe crab
Living in shallow marine waters, tri-spine horseshoe crab has hard shell having 20 cm diameter, 8 small legs under its stomach and a long tail. Tri-spine horseshoe crabs mate for life, a male weighing about 1/2 kg always is on the back of female weighing about 1 kg. In breeding season of tri-spine horseshoe crab from October to February in the lunar calendar, female carries hundreds of eggs which are as small as pepper.
Male crabs are thrown because it has a very small amount of meat. Tri-spine horseshoe crab meat is used to make a wide range of delicious dishes: soup, salad, grilled dishes, stir-fried dishes, cellophane noodle, congee… Tri-spine horseshoe crab is usually cooked with hot and sour spices such as galangal, lemongrass, chili, vinegar, lemon and special herbs such as Vietnamese mint, wild betel leaves. The most favorite dishes from this sea animal are. Grilled tri-spine horseshoe crab on char-coal and Sweet and sour stir-fried tri-spine horseshoe crab.
A specialty from this kind of animal is Grilled tri-spine horseshoe crab eggs. The pregnant tri-spine horseshoe crab is grilled on charcoal or dry coconut shells until the eggs become pleasant. This dish is served with sour pomelo flesh and pulp, pickled daikon, herbs, crushed peanuts, fish sauce dip with garlic and chili, green onion oil. To eat, use a sharp knife to cut tri-spine horseshoe crab’s stomach to reveal hundreds of eggs.