6. Neem salad
Ingredients for this amazing salad are neem shoots and flowers, pork belly, dried snakeskin gournami (or dried snakehead), cucumber, green mango, pineapple, fish sauce, tamarind pulp, garlic, chili pepper, coriander, peanuts, etc. The tender and bitter Neem shoot and flowers are the soul of this salad. Neem shoots and flowers are poached in water with some salt to reduce the bitterness, then drained off. Grill or fry dried snakeskin gournami until smelling and crispy outside, remove the bones, shred the flesh of the dried snakeskin gournami. Slice thinly cucumbers, cut pineapple into small triangular pieces, slice thinly green mango. Make a sweet sour salty hot dressing from fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, chili pepper. Mix all of the prepared ingredients with the dressing, top the mixture with coriander and crushed toasted peanuts, chili pepper slices. The dish is not only good-tasty but also nice-looking. In addition, this comfort dish is very rich in nutrition so that it is good for your health. It is a perfect blend of five tastes: bitter, sweet, sour, salty, hot tastes.
7. Pickled young mango
Pickled young mango originated in Gieng Island (Cu Lao Gieng), Binh Phuoc Xuan commune, Cho Moi district, An Giang province. Gieng Island has lush fruits orchards and fresh fruits during the year. Mango trees are grown popularly on the island. In mango season, gardens on the island are full of premature mangoes falling from the tree. One day, Mr. Nguyen Hoang Liet picked up premature mangoes falling from the tree and use them to make a pickle. Since then, people on the island have made pickle from young mango for their family and selling. It is served as a snack, a starter and is a great gift from Cu Lao Gieng.
To make pickled young mango, they choose young mango fruit which is as small as a human big toe. These mangoes are peeled, cut in half or quarter, soaked in water. The seeds should be removed. After that, the young mango pieces are washed, soaked in salt water, washed again. Cook sugar with kneaded chili pepper until sugar dissolves completely. Marinate the young mango with the sugar chili pepper mixture, put the mango into plastic bags, tie the bags and store them in ice. Cu Lao Gieng pickled young mango is famous for being crunchy outstandingly. The sweet, sour, hot and crunchy pickled young mango whet your appetite so much.
8. Chau Doc fermented foods
Mother Nature gives Chau Doc lots of fresh fishes, crabs and vegetables which are used to make fermented foods (“Mam”). Chau Doc, there are hundreds of kinds of “Mam”, Vietnamese people name “Mam” for their main ingredients. Mam ca loc (Fermented snakehead), Mam ca com (Fermented anchovy), Mam ca linh (Fermented siamese mud carp), Mam ruot (Fermented fish guts), Mam thai (Fermented sliced snakehead and shredded green papaya), Mam ba khia (Fermented Sesarma mederi), Dua mam (Fermented baby melon) are the most favorite “Mam”.
Followings are steps making Fermented fish:
- Choose freshest fishes;
- Removing guts, washing fishes, marinating fishes with unrefined salt, saving them in a jar for 30 days, washing them again by water;
- Marinating fishes with “Thinh” – ground toasted rice and put into the jar with high quality fish sauce. After 60-90 days, the fishes turn red, transparent and smelling;
- Lastly, mixing “Mam” with sweet and creamy palm sugar (a specialty of An Giang). The Fermented fish is ready after 3-5 days.
Mekong Delta people can eat Chau Doc most of the fermented foods without cooking. They usually mix”Mam” with vegetables, spices to make “Mam” more delicious. They are also main ingredients to cook a lot of delicious dishes. Mekong Delta people usually braise Fermented fishes with pork, vegetable. Fermented fish is the key ingredient of the famous Bun mam.
9. Com ni – Ca pua
Com ni and Ca pua are two different dishes. However, they always go together and create a very perfect couple. Com ni – Ca pua are usually served on a plate with cucumber slices, tomato slices, minced coriander, and chili pepper slices.
To cook Com ni (Ni steamed rice), choose high-quality rice, wash it carefully many times, drain it off. A little of salt is added to the water while washing. Stir-fry the rice with cinnamon and clove, then mix it with toasted cashew powder. The rice is cooked with a mixture of water, salt, sugar, and curry in a pot. When the rice is going to be well-done, pour coconut milk or milk into the pot, then continue cooking until well-done. Lastly, mix the steamed rice with dried grapes. The Ni steamed rice has a sweet smell, nice look with yellow color and great taste.
Ca pua is made from fresh beef, curry, peanut, coconut milk, etc. Wine and ginger are used to remove the odor of the beef. Shred coconut meat, a half is used to make a coconut milk sauce, the remaining is toasted until yellow. The beef is stir-fried with shredded coconut meat, curry, onion, chili pepper, salt. Then add coconut milk sauce and cook the beef until tender. Add toasted shredded coconut meat, onion, and toasted peanuts.
10. Vinh Trung soup cake
There are some soup cake restaurants in Vinh Trung commune. The recipe originated in Ut Oanh Na restaurant which is 300 meters far from Vinh Trung market. Tens of years ago, Ms. Neang Oanh Na who lives in Vinh Trung create a soup cake noodles from the special rice grown by Khmer people in Bay Nui region – a region of 7 mountains in An Giang. So that the noodles have typical taste and smell. Not similar to noodles of soup cake in other regions, Vinh Trung soup cake noodles are not round but flat. The noodles are stickier than the others. The clear rich broth is the soul of this dish, it is cooked from pork bone, chicken bone, dried squid and dried shrimp. The dish is topped with pork leg, chicken, wild snakehead, shrimp, meatball at customer wish. Culantra and green onion are also topped to enhances flavors and smell of the soup cake. Fish sauce, chili pepper could not be missed while eating this dish.