The exotic land of Mekong Delta in Vietnam is a magnet which attracts a large number of tourists every year. This destination is famous for not only its rustic and tranquil beauty but also its unique culture, daily lifestyle of the locals and regional cuisine. Specially, regional Mekong cuisine is always an indispensable part in every Mekong Delta tours. They are absolutely delicious and bring a rustic flavor characterizing the daily life of the locals.
Elephant Ear Fish
Elephant Ear Fish is a popular fish in the Mekong Delta; therefore, it will be a big shortcoming if you visit the Mekong Delta without enjoying this fish. The dish’s weird name is derived from its appearance which looks like an elephant ear. Almost restaurants and homestays in the Mekong Delta serve this dish as a specialty of the region.
Elephant Ear Fish is served with some kind of vegetables and herbs
To gain its absolute best, the dish has to be cooked in a traditional Mekong style. The whole fish will be fried to crispy perfection and then cut into pieces and put it upright in a plate, with its scales and teeth still attached and a flower in its mouth. The proper way to enjoy the fish is to roll it in rice paper along with pickles and dipped in fish sauce, chili and lemongrass. And to make the dish more delicious, you should eat this fish along with some kind of vegetables and herbs.
Ba Khia (Freshwater Crabs)
Ba Khia is a small and dark freshwater crab; and usually seen at salinity-intruded forests along the coast of Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau provinces. Because of three stripes on their back, these crabs are called Ba Khia. Ba Khia also has two brown-red pincers, a slightly red belly and eight legs with soft fur at the tips.
Ba Khia is very popular in the Mekong Delta
The dishes from Ba Khia appear popularly at local restaurants. Ba Khia is processed into many different dishes such as: Ba Khia salad and salt-fried Ba Khia; among them, the most popular dish is salted crab mixed with chili, garlic, refined sugar, lemon juice and Vietnamese mint. With this dish, Ba Khia will bring a pungent smell and sweet, salty and sour taste, which are classic hallmarks of regional Mekong cuisine. Enjoying dishes from Ba Khia served with bamboo products surrounding such as: bamboo fish traps, bamboo vegetable baskets in a rustic interior atmosphere with bamboo table sets and bamboo food booths of the local restaurants will increase the unique regional flavor of the dishes.
Coconut candy is one of the most popular candies in Vietnam and is a specialty in Ben Tre Province, where is the homeland of coconut. The locals produce coconut candy in a very simple way. Fresh grated coconut is squeezed to obtain coconut milk and then mixed with sugar, and finally boiled until the soft crack stage. Immediately, the producers have to cut it into thin strips and continue to cut these thin strips into the smaller pieces of candy because candy will be sticky when it cools. The final products are coconut candies with a nice shine and nutty flavor. Besides, when producing coconut candy, they are usually mixed with durian or pandan leave flavor or roasted peanut to create a special flavor.
A coconut candy factory in Ben Tre
In any Mekong Delta tour, you should spend time visiting a coconut candy factory. After this visit, you can have chance to learn how to make coconut candy from the locals and even taste coconut candy right at the factory which is made by yourself.
These special dishes will help you explore and enjoy unique cuisine in the Mekong Delta, which always characterize a rustic flavor of the local’s life. Surely, they will bring you a perfect tour in the Mekong Delta.