Top 10 specialty foods to buy in Vietnam

VietKings – Vietnam Records Organization has just published “Top 10 specialty foods to buy in Vietnam”.

1. Dried Shrimp in Ca Mau province

Peeled shrimps are boiled, then dried under the sun for 2-3 days. Dried shrimp is orange-pink, a little hard, a little salty and sweet. The food has an attractive smell and wonderful taste. Although Dried shrimp is popular in many regions such as Phu Quoc (Kien Giang province), Tra Vinh province, Nha Trang city (Khanh Hoa province), Dried shrimp in Ca Mau has a distinctive taste because it is made from wild-caught shrimps which meat is firmer and tastier than the meat of farmed shrimps. In Ca Mau, there are many families earning their livings on making Dried shrimp from generation to generation. Each family has its own secret recipe to make Dried shrimp.

Dried shrimp can be eaten as snack or used to cook various flavorful Vietnamese dishes. There are many soup, stir-frying, salad recipes with Dried shrimp. The most popular dishes from Dried shrimp are Salad with pomelo and dried shrimp, Soup with malabar spinach and dried shrimp, Young Chow fried rice, Savory steamed sticky rice with mixed toppings.

2. Shan Tuyet Suoi Giang Tea in Yen Bai province

Suoi Giang Shan Tuyet Tea

Suoi Giang – a commune in Van Chan district, Yen Bai province, Northwest Highlands of Vietnam is famous for hundreds-year-old tea plants. The Shan Tuyet tea made from these old tea plants has a unique taste which can win the heart of any tea lover. The unique of this tea comes from the honey-yellow color and the special taste of plants growing on high mountains. The pure and charming Shan Tuyet Suoi Giang Tea is considered as the soul of Suoi Giang and the gift that Mother Nature gives local people.

3. Mung Bean Cake in Hai Duong province

Hai Duong mung Bean Cake

Mung bean cake or Banh dau xanh is a traditional Vietnamese sweet cake. Banh dau xanh is lightly sweet, buttery, soft, smelling. It is made from mung bean, sugar, oil (or pork fat), and pomelo flower extract. The cake is cut into small cubes with a side of 2 cm. These sweet cubes are so well-kneaded so that it melts in your mouth. Mung bean cake is a good fit for green tea. Hai Duong city has about 40 factories which produce Mung bean cake to sell to inbound and export to China, Europe.

4. Me Xung in Thua Thien-Hue province

Hue Me Xung Candy

Me Xung candy – a specialty food of Hue is made from sesame, peanut, rice flour, and sugar. It is a lightly sweet, chewy, crunchy and smelling candy.  Although a piece of Me Xung is bite-sized, dinner should not eat an entire candy at first bite. The right way to eat Me Xung is eating a little bit while sipping tea and reading a book (or talking to each other). Coming to Hue, visitors can see hundreds of shops or street food stalls sell this kind of candy.

5. Ly Son garlic in Quang Ngai province

Ly Son Garlic

Garlic grown in Ly Son has been known as King of garlic or Pearl garlic. The garlic pieces are as white as the color of a pearl. Ly Son garlic has pleasant fragrant, sweet, less hot and less strong than other products of this kind. One of the highlights of this specialty is that it is grown in the sand. Orphaned garlic (Lonely garlic) which has only one clove is very good, rare and expensive for its strange looking, great taste, sweet smell and nutrient-rich. Ly Son garlic has many uses: a spice to cook a lot of delicious dishes, enhance food flavor and remove food odor; medicine, the chemical compound in this kind of garlic can improve the immune system, slow down aging, defeat cancer.

6. Bau Da wine in Binh Dinh province

Bau Da wine in Binh Dinh

Originated from Cu Lam village, Nhon Loc commune, An Nhon district, Binh Dinh province, Bau Da wine is a famous specialty of the province as well as Vietnam for its distinctive taste and smell. The wine’s sound is clear, its smell is pleasant and its drops are transparent like crystal. Although Bau Da wine is a very high in alcohol (approximately 50%), the wine does not cause a headache but make drinkers relaxing and refreshing.

It is manually made of newly-harvested rice grains and special water from Bau Da pond and distilled with straw and husk-fired heat. The winemakers must follow many requirements on rice, water and yeast and procedures in order to make the delicious Bau Da wine. Vietnamese people prefer to sit cross-legged on the floor to enjoy both wine and recitals on a moonlit night. Pour this wine from a height to hear the marvelous sound of wine splashing. Then let the glass of wine spread its smell through the air for a while before sipping it and feeling its wonderful taste.

7. Khanh Hoa Salangane Nests in Khanh Hoa province

Khanh Hoa Salangane Nests

In Vietnam, Khanh Hoa Province has the largest number of islands which are home to the salanganes and its products have been rated as having the best quality. According to scientists at the Southern Institute of Science and Technology, compared to other countries having salangane nest production industries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam has a suitable sea climate and environment and a rich source of food for the salanganes which provide larger yield, whiter nests, and better quality. The caves must be carefully protected because the sea here is very rough. Khanh Hoa Salangane Nests Company has made roofs for the caves, built dykes and installed surveillance cameras. The birds usually make their nests on the high cliffs, so the workers must be skilled and brave mountain-climbers.

Khanh Hoa Province not only has harvested salangane nests on the islands but also taken the lead in raising the salanganes in houses. According to the research results of the Institute of Biotechnology at the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology, and the Biotechnology Center at the University of Fisheries, Khanh Hoa salangane nests are a pure natural food with abundant nutrients, including 18 essential amino acids. The valuable Khanh Hoa Salangane Nests are one of the most favorite specialty foods to buy in Vietnam.

8. Buon Ma Thuot coffee in Dak Lak province

Buon Ma Thuot coffee in Vietnam

Buon Ma Thuot city (Dak Lak province) is considered as the kingdom of coffee in Vietnam. This central highlands city is well-known for its outstanding coffee and numerous cafes. In the city, you can see coffee trees everywhere, most of the families earn their living on growing, processing, brewing, selling coffee.

In addition to Trung Nguyen’s G7 brand coffee, various other types of coffee are on offer in this café like Latte, L’mour, Cappuccino, Mother Land, Red Rose, Weasel, Legendee, and Passionate, etc.  A local said about steps of coffee processing: “After picking, the beans are dried. Once dry, they are peeled. We use a wooden mortar and pestle to do this step. After that, we roast the coffee and then use the same mortar to grind the roasted beans. Finally, we simmer the coffee in a bag”. Coming to Buon Ma Thuot, do not miss buying some good coffee to bring home.

9. Ngoc Linh Ginseng in Kon Tum province

Discovered in 1973,  Ngoc Linh ginseng a precious medicinal species indigenous to the mountain of the same name. The ginseng is grown 1,400m above sea level, in forests in the central highlands Kon Tum, has been named a National Brand. Research has found it to be among the four most precious ginseng species in the world, which contain substances beneficial to human health and thus high in economic value.

10. Honey in Gia Lai province

Gia Lai in Central Highlands of Vietnam is home to boundless fields of coffee and rubber plants. The coffee fields bloom around March and April each year, which makes it an ideal time for bees to suck the nectar from the blossoms. Honey made in Gia Lai is very famous for great taste, pure sweetness, having the smell of flowers in Melaleuca forests. The honey is one of the most favorite products in domestic and foreign markets.

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