Thut Soup is a traditional dish of Dak Nong province in Central Highlands of Vietnam. The soup plays an important part in cultural life of M’Nong ethnic group. The dish is cooked to eat not only on normal days but also at important events (festivals, weddings). According to M’Nong people, Thut Soup was invented when their ancestors brought their meals in bamboo pipes with them to have lunch right on rice fields to save time. Thut Soup is not only flavorful but very healthy. It makes dinners comfortable, helps them stronger, treats bloating and gas.
It needs many local ingredients to cook this distinctive dish: fish (or pork, chicken, bird, dried beef skin, dried buffalo skin, etc.), gnetum gnemon leaves, bittersweet fruits, green chili peppers, rattan plants, etc. The ingredients are found in forests so that M’Nong people consider Thut Soup as a valued gift from forests for many years. The fish that is used to cook this dish is caught in streams so that fish is fresh and very tasty. The fish is grilled on charcoal to remove the odor from the fish. Rattan plants are peeled to get their young parts which could be eaten. M’Nong people choose young Gnetum gnemon leaves to cook Thut soup. The soup is cooked in a 1-meter long pipe which is called “Ong lo o”. This pipe is made from bambusa balcooa – a clumping bamboo which is not too young but not too old. The pipe is not only a tool to cook, it also adds flavor to the soup. The pipe filled with all of the ingredients are cooked over medium heat for about 30 minutes. The cook is patient enough to roll the pipe continuously to make sure the pipe is not burnt and all of the ingredients are well done. At last, the cook uses a bamboo stick to stir them until well-kneaded and add some salt, ground black pepper.
Coming to Dak Nong, you will be served Thut Soup with Can wine by friendly hosts. It is not a chance to enjoy a specialty food of Dak Nong as well as Vietnam, but also to learn more about our rich culture. You will find enough five tastes: sweet, salt, bitter, hot, buttery.