11. Sa Giang shrimp crackers
Vietnamese shrimp crackers are usually eaten as snacks or served with many Vietnamese salads. They are not only a favorite food at home meals but also served at important events (Tet, Mid-autumn festival, wedding, death anniversary). The best Vietnamese shrimp crackers are produced in Ca Mau and Dong Thap. Sa Giang shrimp crackers (Dong Thap province) have been a famous brand in Vietnam since 1960. The crackers are made from tapioca starch, fresh shrimp, duck egg, garlic, onion, and spices. Traditionally the dough is steamed, rolled out, cut into round chips then dried. Dried shrimp crackers can be stored for from 6 months to 2 years. The dried cracker can be a round sheet with a diameter of 2-3 cm. Or they can make it a rectangle. Dried shrimp crackers could not be eaten because they are very hard. They must be fried in oil for a few minutes until crispy, smelling, lighter and 3-4 times bigger. Fried shrimp crackers look like small bowls. When eating, the crackers melt right away in dinner’s mouth.
Vietnamese pancake in Cao Lanh – the capital city of Dong Thap is famous for the big round thin rice flour crust which is fried in a big aluminum pan over charcoal. To make Banh xeo crust, choose high-quality rice which has just harvested and smells great. The rice is soaked in water, ground until smooth, mixed with coconut milk, salt, chopped green onion, turmeric powder. The filling is made from jicama, bean sprouts, duck (or lean pork and shrimp).
The cook must be very skillful to make the crust as thin as a paper and extremely crispy. When the pan is hot, pour the mixture onto the pan, add the filling and cover the lid. Wait until there is a sound “sizz”, open the lid, fold the cake in half and get the cake out of the pan and put it on banana leaves. The cake has a semicircle shape.
Vietnamese pancake in Cao Lanh is served with sweet-sour dipping fish sauce with pickled carrot and daikon, various vegetables and herbs. Diners wrap Banh xeo, veggies, herbs in brown mustard or salad leaves, then dip in the sauce and tuck in.
13. Sa Dec clear rice noodles
Sa Dec – the capital city of Dong Thap province has a tradition of making rice flour and rice noodles for over 100 years. The milky white, wide, tender and chewy enough Sa Dec clear rice noodle is famous in Vietnam and other countries. Although there are not less than ten recipes from clear rice noodle, Hu tieu nuoc and Hu tieu kho in Sa Dec has its own position in Vietnamese cuisine.
A portion of Sa Dec clear rice noodle soup (Hu tieu nuoc) consists of the broth, rice noodles, toppings, vegetables and herbs. The broth is cooked from pork bones, dried shrimp, dried squid. To serve, the clear and rich broth is poured onto poached dried clear rice noodles, the broth should cover the noodles. The boiling broth makes the noodles tender and a little chewy. The dish is topped with lean pork, pork cake, pork heart, pork liver, pork kidney, shrimp, chopped green onion. A bowl of Sa Dec clear rice noodle is usually served with vegetables (bean sprouts, garlic chives, celery, salad), soybean sauce, pickled chili pepper.
To serve Hu tieu kho, top the boiled dried clear rice noodles with lean pork, pork liver, crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, etc. Then pour a sweet-sour sauce onto the noodles and toppings.
14. Lotus in Thap Muoi
Dong Thap province – the lotus kingdom is full of lotus in swamps, ponds, fields. Every year in the flooding season from July to August in the Lunar calendar, lotus flowers bloom and create a beautiful ever sight in Dong Thap.
Most of the parts of lotus such as seed, stem, young leaf and root are edible. From them, Dong Thap people have created tens of delicious specialty foods. Fresh lotus seed can be eaten raw as a snack, dried lotus seed is ingredients to cook sweet soups, sugar-preserved lotus seed, stewed dishes, soups. Lotus stem is the main ingredient for the famous Lotus stem salad, Stir-fried lotus stem with shrimp. Lotus root is used to cooked Soup with lotus root and pork leg. The young lotus leaf is the soul of the Grilled snakehead wrapped in young lotus leaf.
Lotus flower nectar and lotus heart are used to make great teas. Hong sen tuu or Pink lotus wine is a specialty of Dong Thap. It is made from lotus seed, lotus heart, lotus root, glutinous rice and Men bot sen – a special yeast made from lotus.
Lai Vung district in Dong Thap province is known as “the kingdom of mandarin”. It is famous for a kind of mandarin which has great taste, nice smell, thin skin, fewer seeds. Local people call this mandarin Lai Vung mandarin or Tieu son mandarin. The plumpy mandarin with shining red-orange skin is a favorite choice to arrange a plate of fruits which is offered to the ancestor or Five fruits tray – a must at Tet festival. Its flesh is juicy, sweet and tender so that many of people fall in love with it. One of the highlights of this mandarin is that it can be stored for a longer time in comparison to the others.
Chau Thanh longan
Longan in Chau Thanh is famous for juicy, sweet, thick, opaque, white flesh and small seed. Ripe longan is as bright brown as cow skin. Chau Thanh longan is a favorite of many people and it has become more and more famous in the country.
Mango in Cao Lanh
In Cao Lanh – the capital city of Dong Thap province, there are 2 main kinds of mangoes: Cat Chu mango and Hoa Loc mango. Cat Chu mango tastes a little chewy and light sweet. The other has heavier, bigger and longer fruit and more smelling than Cat Chu mango. Both of them are delicious and specialty foods of the province.