Saigon street food – Stuffed bitter melon, eggplant and chili pepper

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city) is considered as “paradise of street foods” which is full of exotic street foods. Stuffed bitter melon, eggplant and chili pepper (Hủ qua cà ớt, Khổ qua cà ớt, Hu qua ca ot, Kho qua ca ot) is a famous Saigon street food which is created by Chinese people in the city.

This food including many kinds of vegetables stuffed with pork and fish, fried and served with a broth and dipping sauce. The food is popular at street food stalls on the streets or at local markets. Each vendor has his own recipe for the stuffed vegetables, broth and dipping sauce. This kind of food has attracted most of the people for its great taste, comfort and reasonable price.

Ingredients for this food are bitter melon, eggplant, chili pepper, long yard bean, okra, tomato, pork, fish, fish cake, dried pork skin, pork bone, daikon, blood pudding, green onion. Bronze featherback is the best choice thanks to its chewy flesh. To make this food, ground pork and fish flesh until smooth. Cut and remove inner parts of bitter melon, eggplant, chili pepper, okra, tomato, then stuff them with the mixture of ground pork and fish flesh. The long yard bean is also formed into a round and stuffed with the mixture. Form the mixture into small flat round sheets which are called fish cakes (Chả cá). The stuffed vegetables, fish cakes are fried until crispy outside and well-done inside.

The broth is cooked from dried pork skin, pork bone, daikon, blood pudding. The rich and clear broth is topped with sesame oil, deep-fried shallots, green onion, and ground black pepper. This kind of food is dipped in hoisin sauce, chili sauce, sautee. Some street food stalls serve Kho qua ca ot with papaya and cucumber pickles and special sauces with their own recipes.

A portion of  Stuffed bitter melon, eggplant and chili pepper is a good choice on rainy days or cold days. It can warm your stomach and satisfy your taste.

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