16 Specialty foods in Soc Trang

1. Dai Tam purple star apple

Purple star apple grown in Dai Tam commune, My Xuyen district, Soc Trang province is famous for smooth and sweet taste, thin bright purple skin, small seeds, and nice smell. The harvesting season of Dai Tam purple star apple is from November to January in the lunar calendar. Dai Tam purple star apple tree is grown from seed so that the life span of the tree is longer, its fruit is more delicious than other of its kind in Vietnam.

2. Ke Thanh Nam Roi pomelo

Ke Thanh commune, Ke Sach district, Soc Trang province is well-known for Nam Roi pomelo which has no seed, thin bright yellow skin, sweet taste, juicy meat and pulp.

3. Cu Lao Dung boleophthalmus boddarti

Cu Lao Dung Boleophthalmus BoddartiBoleophthalmus boddarti is considered as one of the best thanks to firm but tender flesh, less bone and great taste. Especially, the fish has a big liver which is buttery, greasy and a little bitter. The fish has a round and long head. On its skin there are many white round spots which are similar to beautiful star so that locals call it Ca bong sao (“sao” means star in Vietnamese). Ca bong sao can be found in muddy riverbanks in mangrove apple forests in An Thanh commune, Cu Lao Dung District. Dung Island is administrated as Cu Lao Dung district of Soc Trang province. TTo catch boleophthalmus boddarti, local people drive “mong” – a mean of transportation to drive on mud in Soc Trang in the forest to find Ca bong sao. The fish lives in deep holes which could be 1 meter long. It needs experience and hard working to catch the fish. Three best dishes from Cu Lao Dung boleophthalmus boddarti are Braised boleophthalmus boddarti with black pepper, Braised boleophthalmus boddarti with lemongrass and chili pepper, sweet and sour soup with boleophthalmus boddarti and mangrove apple. These braised dishes with a little thickened broth are usually served with steamed rice, boiled veggies, cucumber, soup with pennywort.

4. Vinh Chau Clear rice noodle soup with curry

Vinh Chau Clear rice noodle soup with curryVinh Chau – a county-level town of Soc Trang Province is well-known for Clear rice noodle soup with curry. The broth is cooked from curry leaves, pork (chicken/duck), carrot. The broth must be yellow, a little greasy, sweet-salty. It has the smell of curry leaves but the smell should not be too strong. The pork/chicken/duck and carrots are tender so that it melts in your mouth. To serve, poach dry clear rice noodles in boiling water, put the poached noodles into a bowl, top the dish with meat, carrot, thinly sliced onion, bean sprouts, herbs (culantro, basil), then pour the boiling broth into the bowl until the broth covers enough the noodles and toppings. They also serve this fantastic food with a mixture of lime juice and ground black pepper for dipping; lemon wedges for whom would like to add sourness to the dish; bean sprouts, coriander for whom would like to eat more. The dish can fill and warm your stomach.

5. Porridge with snakehead and prostrate knotweed

Main ingredients of this dish are rice, snakehead, prostrate knotweed, Fermented soybeans, green onion, and herbs. The rice is toasted until opaque white, a little burnt and yellow, very pleasant. Big snakehead which has less bone is better. Toasted rice is added to boiling water and cooked until broken and desired consistency is achieved. After seasoning the porridge with salt, the snakehead is added. The snakehead must be well-done and not too tender.

Porridge with snakehead and prostrate knotweed is a wonderful dish on not only cold but hot days because it is good for stomach, flavorful, and rich-nutrient. The perfect mix of the wild snakehead and bitter prostrate knotweed has made the dish beloved by most Mekong Delta people as well as visitors from other regions of Vietnam and other countries.

6. Thanh Tri buffalo jerky

Thanh Tri buffalo jerky

Thanh Tri buffalo jerky – a specialty foods in Soc Trang part 2

A trip to Thanh Tri commune, Thanh Tri district, Soc Trang province could not be considered complete if traveler misses trying the distinctively tasty buffalo jerky. To make smelling and flavorful dry buffalo, the maker must choose buffalo back leg, remove tendon, slice the meat parallel with the grain, marinate buffalo slices with minced lemongrass, salt, sugar, garlic, chili pepper, then dry under the sun. The dry buffalo jerky must be thin, have the smell of lemongrass and typical smell of buffalo. The most popular method to eat buffalo jerky is grilling. Firstly, the jerky is soaked in water, leave the soaked jerky for 5-10 minute, grill 2 sides of the jerky on charcoal until hearing explosive sounds. After grilling the buffalo jerky turns smelling and well-done. Use a pestle or a knife handle to beat the grilled jerky, tear the jerky into strips and dip in tamarind fish sauce dip, then tuck in. The viscous sweet-sour sauce made from tamarind, fish sauce, sugar, salt, lemongrass, chili pepper is perfectly suitable for this dry food. Thanh Tri buffalo jerky is also used to cook amazingly delicious Buffalo jerky salad.

7. Vung Thom sausage

Vung Thom pork sausage

Vung Thom Sausage – a specialty foods in Soc Trang part 2

Vung Thom village, Phu Tan commune, My Tu district, Soc Trang province is not only famous for Pia cake but also pork sausage (Lap xuong). Pork sausage (Lap xuong) is a favorite of many people thanks to easy storage, easy cooking, and great taste. Just boil, fry, grill or steam raw Lap xuong to have a main dish to eat with steamed rice (or steamed sticky rice), veggies, herbs. Lap xuong is a must ingredient to cook the famous Young Chew fried rice. The pork sausage is a must food at Tet festival. Lap xuong originated in Vung Thom and Lap xuong made in this place has special taste and smell.

There are 2 types of Lap xuong in Vung Thom: the dry which can be stored for 15 days and the fresh which can be stored for a few months at room temperature. To make fresh Lap xuong, ground pork and fat, marinate ground pork and fat with Mai Que Lo wine and spices (sugar, salt, black pepper) for about 20 minutes, then fill the gut. The maker uses a needle and pricks the casing to create air bubbles. The long filled gut is tied to divide it into shorter chunks. After filling the guts, dry the sausage under the sun or in drying machine until it turns red and shinning. To make dry Lap xuong, they use dry pork gut instead of fresh gut.

8. Rice noodle soup with pepper

Rice noodle soup with pepper

Rice noodle soup with pepper – a specialty foods in Soc Trang part 2

In comparison to other kinds of rice noodle soups in Vietnam, Bun tieu gio is simpler. However it has a typical flavor from hot and strong-smelling black pepper. Similar to most Vietnamese noodle soups, the soul of this dish is the great broth cooked from black pepper, pork bone and fresh coconut water. The broth is clear, rich, a little hot, smooth and sweet. The noodle soup is topped with tender stewed pig leg, sliced ham or duck.

To serve this dish, put some tender, a little chewy rice noodles into a bowl, add toppings such as stewed pig leg, sliced ham, poached bean sprouts, herbs (basil, Vietnamese balm), sliced shallots, then pour some broth to cover the noodles and toppings. Bun tieu gio in Soc Trang simply is dipped in fish sauce with some black pepper. Chili pepper slices and lime wedges are also served so that dinner can add sourness or hotness to the dish when eating.

9. Goi da rice noodle soup

Soc Trang goi da noodle soup

Goi da rice noodle soup – a specialty foods in Soc Trang part 2

Made from rice noodles, pork, shrimp, veggies, Bun goi da is firstly attracted by its strange name. Literally, “bun” means rice noodle soup, “goi” means spring roll, “da” means eating in Vietnamese.  It has been said that Bun goi da recipe comes from spring roll recipe which ingredients are also rice noodles, pork, shrimp, veggies. From the same ingredients, local people have changed the spring roll recipe, cooked the broth to eat the dish as a noodle soup.

The cook cooks a sour, clear, sweet and rich broth from simple ingredients such as pork bone, Fermented soybeans, and tamarind. Similar to the spring roll, this dish is served with a dipping sauce from Fermented soybean. To serve this dish, they put white rice noodles with tender, slippery and slightly chewy texture into a soup bowl. Then top the noodles with various delicious foods including boiled peeled shrimp, boiled pork ribs, boiled pork belly slices, poached bean sprouts, herbs before pouring the broth into the bowl. The broth should cover the others. The dish is eaten with various aromatic and fresh veggies and herbs. It is dipped in a very tasty sauce made from ground Fermented soybeans, crushed peanuts, chili pepper (optional). Lime wedges and chili pepper slices are available on the table for dinners who would like to add sourness and hotness to the dish.

10. Nuoc leo rice noodle soup

Nuoc leo rice noodle soup – a specialty foods in Soc Trang part 2

Nuoc leo rice noodle soup (Bun nuoc leo) is a specialty of Khmer people in Mekong Delta. The broth of Bun nuoc leo is cooked from pork bone, coconut water, Boesenbergia Rotunda, Mam bo hoc, pineapple, lemongrass. Pork bone makes the broth rich, coconut water adds natural sweetness to the broth, Boesenbergia Rotunda makes the dish typical. Mam bo hoc (prohok) is a kind of Fermented fishes which is made by brewing snakehead, catfish, shrimp, salt for over 6 months. The broth of Nuoc leo rice noodle soup must be sweet-salty, clear and reddish-brown as cockroach wing. The secret of cooking the broth is putting all of the ingredients for the broth into a cloth filter so that the broth is very clear.

The dish is topped with tender, a little chewy, white snakehead flesh and snakeskin gourami flesh, boiled peeled shrimp, roasted pork which is crispy outside and tender inside. Rice noodles are poached in boiling water for about 10 seconds before serving. Bun nuoc leo is served with various veggies (juicy bean sprouts, crunchy shredded banana blossom and shredded morning glory, bitter common knotgrass, buttery, lightly sweet and a little bitter sliced green banana, garlic chieves), aromatic herbs, lime wedges, chili pepper slices. The dipping sauce is made from salt, lime, and chili pepper.

11. Pia cakePia Cake With Taro And Salted Duck Egg

Pia Cake – a specialty foods in Soc Trang

Pia Cake is always ranked at first in lists of Must foods to eat in Soc Trang, Top things to buy in Soc Trang… What makes this cake so special? Pia Cake is a sweet, tender and smelling hand-sized round cake with thin wheat flour crust and fillings made from mung bean, durian, salted egg yolk. There’s no better than tasting a piece of Pia cake while sipping ginger tea in Soc Trang. It has been said that a similar cake is brought from China to Vung Thom, Soc Trang by a Chinese in the 17th century. Soc Trang people has changed the recipe for the cake to meet the local taste and it has become a specialty food of this region.

Because the cake must have thin tender and a little sticky multi-layer crust, the cook must roll, fold “wet” dough and “dry” dough many times to make the wrapper which has many layers of alternative different types of dough. “Dry” dough is made from wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, oil, pork fat oil. “Wet” dough is made from tapioca starch, wheat flour, oil, pork fat oil. Mung bean is cooked until tender, mashed until well-kneaded, stir-fried with sugar, a little pork fat and durian into a smooth and soft mix. Then the cook uses the mix to wrap salted egg yolk to make the filling, wrap the filling with wrapper and mold into round shape. The cake is covered with a thin layer of egg and decorated with natural food color before grilling until well-done. Taro, black sesame, lotus seeds could be used to fill sweet Pia Cake with Taro, Pia Cake with black sesame… Savory Pia Cake is filled with pork fat, Lap Xuong, sesame.

12. Cong cake (Tube cake )Cong Cake In Mekong Delta 3

Tube Cake – a specialty foods in Soc Trang

Cong cake wins the hearts of many locals and visitors. A Cong cake is as small as a muffin. Main ingredients to make this cake are rice flour, mung bean, and shrimp. It is crispy outside, airy and soft inside. One of interesting fact about the cake is that it is fried in a special tool called “Cong” made of metal (stainless steel or aluminum). So that we call it Cong cake.

Traditionally rice is soaked in water for 6 hours and ground with water to make a rice flour mixture. Whole mung bean is soaked in water for about 6 hours, then cooked until tender and put into the mixture. Depending on local preferences and tastes, they can add ground pork, onion, jicama into the mixture to enhance the cake’s flavor. The way to cook Cong Cake is as special as its name. Firstly, the cook must put “Cong” into hot oil so that “Cong” is hot. After that, the cook pours the mixture into the “Cong”, top two or three shrimps onto the mixture and fries until the cake turns crispy and yellow. Vietnamese people eat Cong Cake when it is still hot. They serve this savory food with lots of fresh vegetables and herbs. Sweet and sour fish sauce dip could not be missed.

13. Pipe pandan rice cake

Pipe pandan rice cake – a specialty foods in Soc Trang

Pipe pandan rice cake has a green color, sweet and greasy taste, typical smell of pandan leaves. The cake is not only sticky but also spongy, the cake is not too sweet not too greasy. Pipe pandan rice cake is usually served hot on banana leaves, topped with shredded coconut meat, a mix of salt and toasted sesame (or crushed roasted peanuts).

Pipe pandan rice cake recipe is very easy, ingredients for the cake are rice, pandan leaf juice, sugar and coconut creme. The rice should be ground with water until well-kneaded. Pipe pandan rice cake is steamed in a 10-cm-long cylindrical tube made from bamboo/tin/ aluminum. It is the reason why they call the cake “Pipe pandan rice cake“. They put a round tin/aluminum piece at the bottom of the mold. A bamboo stick is put in the middle of the tube in order to get the cake out of the mold easily when the cake is well-done. After pouring the mixture of all ingredients into the tube, the cook put the tube onto the lid of the pot containing boiling water to steam for about 2 minutes. Then get the bamboo stick up to get the cake out of the tube.

14. In cake

In Cake – a specialty foods in Soc Trang

Main ingredients for In cake are glutinous rice, sugar, coconut cream. All of the glutinous rice seeds must be white to make sure the cake is entirely white. Certainly, the sugar must be white. Firstly, glutinous rice is dried under the sun, then roasted over medium heat. The cook must be experienced, he/she should know when to stop roasting. Roasting is a very important step. If the rice is roasted for too long the cake will have a smell of burning rice. Otherwise, the cake is not well-done and smelling. After roasting, glutinous rice is mixed with sugar, coconut cream into a mixture which is pressed into round molds. Besides plain In cake, they also make In cake filled with mung bean, mung bean and pandan leaf juice.

15. Me lao

Me lao – a specialty foods in Soc Trang

Me lao was brought into Soc Trang by Chinese people. The cake looks plumpy outside but airy inside. Locals have called it with an ugly name – Me lao because it is made from sesame and it lies to dinner or  (“Me” mean sesame, “lao” means lie in Vietnamese). Me lao is made from taro, glutinous rice flour, sesame and maltose. Taro is cut into pieces, dried under the sun for 2-3 days, crushed until well-kneaded like rice flour. Then make a dough from taro, form into balls which is as small as a longan, cover the balls with a thin layer of glutinous rice flour, fry in oil until yellow and crispy. Quickly get the balls out of the oil, dip in maltose to create a sweet cover, then cover it with toasted sesame. The crust is crispy, hard, firm and melting in your mouth right. The inside part is airy, soft and tender. The cake is better to eat while drinking tea.

16. Ginger cake

Ginger cake

Ginger Cake – a specialty foods in Soc Trang

Ginger cake is a traditional cake of Khmer people in South Vietnam. It is a must food at Khmer traditional festivals (Chol Chnam Thmay festival, Dolta festival, Kate festival), or important events such as engage party, wedding party. The cake is not made from ginger but it looks like ginger so that it is called Ginger cake. Ginger cake of Khmer people is made from glutinous rice flour, cuttlefish bone powder, egg, lemon juice, sugar. The cake is seductively smelling, sweet-tasty, greasy and crispy, melting in your mouth. Beat the mix of cuttlefish bone powder, lemon juice, egg yolk and white until fluffy, add glutinous rice flour, mix until well-kneaded, shape small pieces of the dough into gingers. Fry the gingers in oil until crispy and yellow, dip the ginger cake in sugar caramel to cover the cake with a sweet coat. Then dry the cake under the sun in order to keep its shape.

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