Goat is a favorite food in Vietnam for its great taste and nutritious value. Hoa Lu (Ninh Binh province) – the old kingdom of Vietnam has a large number of mountains and vegetation is a good place to raise goats. Every day goats graze the grass on cliffs and eat leaves. With typical smell, firm and less fat, mountain goat meat – a specialty of Ninh Binh has become very famous in the country. It has been said that goat farming in Ninh Binh dates back to 1788 when Quang Trung King and his soldiers stopped at Ninh Binh on their way from Hue to Tam Diep Pass. Villagers served the King and his soldiers goat dishes. After eating, the soldiers felt stronger and they defeated their enemies. Since then Quang Trung King had encouraged goat farming in Ninh Binh.
According to locals, a 15-25 kg goat gives the best meat (not very tough, not very tender). For years, they have created about 20 specialty dishes from mountain goat:
1. Goat burnt in rice husk (De u trau)
2. Steamed goat leg with Chinese medicine (Chan de ham thuoc bac)
3. Steamed goat with lemon grass
4. Grilled goat breast
5. Grilled goat
6. Stewed goat with five-spices
7. Grilled goat with five-spices
8. Soup with goat and Chinese medicine (Canh son duoc thit de)
9. Stir-fried goat with onions and shiso (De xao lan)
10. Stir-fried goat with sautee
11. Stir-fried goat with mixed veggies (De xao thap cam)
12. Stir-fried goat with lemongrass and chili pepper
13. Deep-fried goat (De ne)
14. Rare goat with lemon juice (De tai chanh)
15. Rice porridge with goat
16. Rice porridge with goat liver
17. Goat blood pudding (Tiet canh de)
18. Ninh Binh Goat hot pot
19. Curried goat
20. Goat in fermented steamed rice
21. Fermented goat
Although there are many delicious and impressive goat recipes. Goat hot pot or Lau de with rich broth, fresh vegetables, and typical goat meat is the most popular goat dish in Ninh Binh as well as Vietnam. Goat has its own smell and not all foreigners coming to Vietnam enjoy goat dishes. Goat hot pot is the easiest to eat among goat dishes. Similar to other Vietnamese hot pots, Lau de consists of 5 parts: the broth, goat meat, veggies, noodles and dipping sauce. Each cook has his own secret recipe to make his goat hot pot unique.
At first, goat is burnt on fire until pleasant, then separate into goat bone and meat which are used to cook the broth. Before cooking, the cook marinates the bone and meat with spices and aromas (five-spices, ginger, and wine) to remove goaty odor, then stir-fries them with garlic. The cook can add taro, shiitake, tofu, lotus root and coconut water to the broth while cooking to enhance its flavor. The broth must be sweet, flavoring, fragrant and clear. The goat meat must be tender and rich. Various veggies including fresh cabbage, water morning glory, carrot, celery, tofu are washed, drained off and put into the boiling pot of the broth while eating.
Besides veggies, Vietnamese people eat goat hot pot with noodles and crispy deep-fried tofu skin. A special sauce from fermented tofu (Chao), ground peanuts, sugar, sautee.
Eating Saigon is a great thing to do on your trip. How to eat the city to its fullest? It is easy to eat at fine dining restaurants which are for rich people and tourists. However, the real Saigon is at local restaurants which are favorite places of many Saigon people. Reaching the local restaurants outside of District 1 sometimes is difficult for foreigners. A Saigon Food Tour is a great choice to immerse into the city life, enjoy all the exotic foods with your tour guides as friends.