Top 10 Foods In Mekong Delta

Light and sweet Fish noodle soup, smelling Hotpot with macerated fish or flavorful Snake fish congee… are specialty foods in Mekong Delta which shouldn’t be missed if you visit this beautiful and peaceful region. I would like to recommend Top 10 foods in Mekong Delta and share our authentic cuisine to everybody around the world.

1.Fish noodle soup (Bun ca)

Rice Noodle Soup With Fish

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Fish noodle soup is one of the most popular foods in Mekong Delta because the locals loves to eat noodle soups and Mother Nature give them many fishes. There are many versions of this flavorful food such as Bun ca Chau Doc, Bun ca Kien Giang, Bun ca Soc Trang… Unlike Bun ca from Central Vietnam, Bun ca in Mekong Delta is made from snake fishes living in rice fields. The taste comes from the clear and hearty broth cooked from bone, snake fish bone, ginger and tomato. Green onion is added as late as possible in the cooking process. The fish can be cooked in the broth or fried until yellow. To serve, rice noodle, pieces of snake fish are put into a bowl before the broth is ladled over them. Fish sauce, lime wedges and chili are on side for diners to season their Bun ca to taste.

2.Broken rice (Com tam)

Broken Rice In Vietnam

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In Mekong Delta, Com tam is so popular that you can find it anywhere on the streets. The most famous Com tam is served with grilled pork chop but there are other delicious Com tam you should taste such as Com tam with stewed organs, Com tam with pork and egg pie, Com tam with thinly shredded pork skin. Com tam is cooked from broken rice that makes it different from steamed rice. Along with meat, stewed organs or thinly shredded pork skin, pickles, slices of cucumbers and chopped green onion oil are topped on the plate of broken rice. A small bow of sweet and sour fish sauce dip couldn’t be missed. This dish is a perfect mix of simple ingredients and it’s worth a try.

3.Snake fish congee (Chao ca loc)

3.Snake fish congee (Chao ca loc)

Snake fish congee is a specialty food in Mekong Delta which you couldn’t find outside Vietnam. It’s simple to cook this food. Just cook the rice and snake fish in a big pot and season it at the end of cooking process. The snake fish is cooked enough until it’s tender but not mushy. Then it’s served on a plate with water hyssop – a bitter vegetable, malabar spinach – a popular vegetable greens and straw mushroom. How to eat this food? You have to use the spoon to ladle the congee and use the chopsticks to get the fish meat and season it with fish sauce. You also get the fresh vegetables by chopsticks. Don’t be worried because the locals will tell you how to do it the right way.

4.Hotpot with macerated fish (Lau mam)

Rice Noodle Soup With Fermented Fish Paste Or Bun Mam 2

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Hotpot with macerated fish originated in Can Tho province which is considered as a place of “white rice and clean water”. Lau mam is at first place in the list of specialty foods in Mekong Delta. The main ingredient to make this dish is macerated siamese mud carp or artificial fish from Chau Doc or An Giang provinces. The broth is cooked from coconut water, pork bone and macerated fishes.

Let’s me tell you how to eat a hotpot in Vietnam. The broth is cooked in a pot on a mini portable gas cooker. Everybody sit around the table on which there’re many kinds of fresh vegetables and meats. You can use any kind of vegies you have. But if you enjoy hotpot in Mekong Delta, you have chance to try some rare vegetables such as water lily plant, common sesban flower, Sesbania grandiflora flower. These vegetables are rare and they are the best to eat with hot pot. Fish, pork, beef, chicken, shrimp and squid are sliced thinly enough to can be well done cooked in the hot pot in a few minutes.

It has become a culture in Mekong Delta where everybody gathers around the table to enjoy hot pot and sip some rice wine. It’s time for family members and friends have leisurely chat while waiting for the meat and veggies being cooked. The ingredients are put into the hot pot as many as the diners eat so that it takes from 1 hour to half day to eat.

5.Hot pot with rice field crab (Lau cua dong)

5.Hot pot with rice field crab (Lau cua dong)

The broth of this hot pot is cooked from ground rice field crab and/or rice field shrimp. This flavorful and healthy brown broth is eaten with other fresh ingredients. The taste is really special and it’s great choice to eat in hot weather.

6.Hot pot with siamese mud carp and common sesban flower (Lau ca linh bong dien dien)

6.Hot pot with siamese mud carp and common sesban flower (Lau ca linh bong dien dien)

This kind of Mekong Delta hot pot is cooked from 2 main ingredients: siamese mud carp and common sesban flower. The broth is cooked from pork bone and fish bone, tamarind leaves so that it has slightly sour flavor. The hot pot is eaten with only siamese mud carp and common sesban flower. Because they can only catch siamese mud carp and pluck common sesban flower when the water rise in Mekong Delta, it’s considered as “rising water food”. It symbolizes the rising water when canal boat and rowboat are used to go around the region.

7.Vietnamese pancake or Sizzling cake (Banh xeo)

Vietnamese Pancake tracy

Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour

Banh xeo is a traditional Vietnamese cake with special taste. There are many steps to cook this amazing food. Firstly high class rice is soaked in water during one night before being ground into a mix of rice powder and water. After that the cook use a thin cloth to filter the mix to receive a fine powder. Coconut milk, salt, sugar, chopped green onion are added into the mix to make it rich. Turmeric powder is used to create yellow color. Then it’s time to prepare the fillings by stir-frying pork, shrimp and mushroom. Finally, the cook have to fry the pancake on a deep-fry pan. After pouring the powder liquid into the pan, the cook covers the pan with a lid. He puts the fillings into the pan about a half minute later and covers the lid again. When he hears the sound “sizz”, it means the Vietnamese pancake is ready to get out.

Banh xeo is served with assorted Vietnamese fresh herbs and fish sauce dipping. It’s better to eat it right after being cooked to enjoy the crispy crepe.

8.Pia cake (Banh pia)

Vietnamese Pia Cake

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Pia cake is a specialty food of Soc Trang province in Mekong Delta. It’s sweet and rich enough to make you want to eat more and more. Pia cake’s crust is made from wheat flour and tapioca flour. The filling is made from sticky rice flour, salted duck egg, mung bean paste and pork fat. Durian is added to make Pia cake with durian. There are various ingredients to make some kinds of Pia cake such as black sesame, lotus seed, pandan leaves, Chinese sausage (lap xuong). The cake is cut into 8 small pieces by a sharp knife and eaten with green tea. Banh pia is a nice gift to family members and friends. Banh pia is a favorite of travellers visiting Mekong Delta.

9.Soup cake (Banh canh)

crab-soup-cake

Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour

The thicker, shorter noodle and gelatinous make soup cake different from other Vietnamese noodle soups. There are many versions of this food such as Banh canh with pork leg, duck, congealed blood, beef ball, crab, shrimp and coconut milk… Soup cake has become popular in Mekong Delta and Southern Vietnam.

10.Clear rice noodle (Hu tieu)

Clear Rice Noodle Soup Or Hu Tieu In Vietnam

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Hu tieu is the last in the list of top 10 foods in Mekong Delta. The broth is clear and smelling because it’s cooked from dried shrimp, pork bone, pork leg and chop. Green onion, bean sprout, fried scallion and hu tieu noodles, slices of boiled pork meat and liver are put into a bowl before the broth is ladled over them. The long noodles aren’t tender but tough.

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