Top 7 Specialties in Mekong Delta (Vietnam) You Don't Want to Miss
by Hello Vietnam Travel Oct 31, 2019
Renowned as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is a beautiful and peaceful land along the mighty Mekong, with long-lasting agricultural traditions. Apart from the breathtaking landscapes of a variety of wonderful rice paddy fields, colorful floating markets, and huge network of rivers, canals, streams, the thing attracting tourists all over the world to the Mekong Delta is its unique cuisine.
Unlike other regions in the country, the Mekong Delta's inhabitants still grow and make food by themselves. Therefore, the specialties here are considered the most authentic Vietnamese delicacies. In this article, we will bring you the list of 7 best dishes in Mekong Delta that will make your mouth water.
1. Ca Tai Tuong Chien Xu (Fried Elephant Ear Fish)
It is not a coincidence that we put Fried Elephant Ear Fish on the top of this list. The dish has this weird name because its main ingredient is the typical fish having an appearance like the ears of an elephant that mainly find in Vinh Long province.
To make the specialty, the fish is fried to get the excellent taste. Then, it will be put upright on a plate and cut into pieces to serve. Fried Elephant Ear Fish has crispy skin and soft meat inside.
You can enjoy Fried Elephant Ear Fish by making a spring fish roll with a piece of fish, vegetables, noodles and rice paper. It will be best served with a special dipping sauce made from minced garlic, fish sauce, tamarind sauce, sugar, lemongrass, and chili.
And where to enjoy it? Fried Elephant Ear Fish can be found in some restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City but this traditional dish definitely gains its best flavor only in the Mekong Delta area.
2. Ga Kho Sa Ot (Braised chicken with lemongrass and hot chili)
Ga Kho Sa Ot (Braised chicken with lemongrass and hot chili) is the next Mekong Delta's delicacy. This is a common specialty in Central and South Vietnam because it is simple from the recipe to the ingredients.
As the name suggests, the most important things to make Ga Kho Sa Ot are chicken, lemongrass, and chili. It also needs other ingredients such as coconut water, ginger, onion, coriander, and spices: fish sauce, sugar, pepper, soup powder in a suitable ratio to create a delicious Braised chicken with lemongrass and hot chili dish.
This combination will then be braised in 30 minutes to one hour to be completed. You can eat Braised chicken with lemongrass and hot chili with cooked rice to enjoy its full taste.
Suggested Read: The 8 Most Amazing Dishes in Vietnam You Must Try Once
3. Hu Tieu Nam Vang (Nam Vang Noodle Soup)
Another dish that should be shown up in your bucket list when coming to the Mekong Delta is Hu Tieu Nam Vang. This food has origin from Cambodia then becomes popular in Southern Vietnam. Different from other kinds of Vietnamese noodle soup, the noodle to make Hu Tieu Nam Vang is skinny in size and has a crunchy, chewy, unique sour taste.
Hu Tieu Nam Vang is a mix of noodles with pork, organs such as liver, heart, quail egg and seafood (shrimp, dried squids or mantis shrimp) and broth made from the bone of pig as well. It is often served with fresh garlic chives, lettuce and bean sprouts. Depending on your interests, you can also add chili sauce, lime, garlic pickles or black bean sauce in noodles.
>>Check out our Vietnam River Cruises to enjoy Mekong Delta cuisine to the fullest<<
4. Canh Chua Ca Chot (Sweet and sour catfish soup)
The fourth delicacy in our list is Canh Chua Ca Chot (Sweet and sour catfish soup). This is a popular soup in Southern Vietnam, especially in Long An Province. The main ingredients of this soup include catfish, tomatoes, okra, spring onions, chilies, pineapple, bean sprouts, a variety of herbs and tamarind leaves for its sour flavor.
Locals often use the fish’s head and tail to make Canh Chua Ca Chot and braise the rest of catfish with a fish sauce and sugar. You can eat this popular Mekong Delta specialty with a bowl of hot rice or vermicelli. Try Canh Chua Ca Chot once and you will never feel regret.
5. Banh Pia (Vietnamese Green Bean Cake With Durian)
Originated from Soc Trang province, Vietnamese Pia cake ranked first in lists of must-eat sweets in Mekong Delta. It is a moon-shaped cake with sweet, tender flavor and thin multi-layer wheat flour crust that win the hearts of all who have ever eaten them.
This specialty of Soc Trang is made from simple natural ingredients such as mung wheat flour, beans, salted egg yolk, pork fat... and the most important thing that makes it unique flavor is durian. However, they must be carefully chosen as Pia cake's expiry date only ranges from a few days to 2 months.
There are also a lot of processes to make a delicious Pia cake, from cook mung bean, stir-fried the ingredient, wrapper the dough...etc. to bake and decorate with natural food colors.
When enjoying it, locals often cut the cake to 8 small pieces. It's best served with green tea or ginger tea (a special tea in Soc Trang). You can easily find it in every corner of the Soc Trang province and buy some Pia cake as souvenirs for your family and friends.
6. Keo Dua (Coconut Candy)
The next specialty is definitely made for coconut lovers. Keo Dua or Coconut candy is not only a traditional candy in Mekong Delta but also one of the most popular candies in Vietnam. It is originated from Ben Tre where is well-known as the land of coconut in the S-shaped country.
The coconut candy is made from basic ingredients comprising coconut water, malt syrup, and sugar. However, it needs an appropriate ratio to create the best product and the people in Ben Tre did it well. Only candy here has an original coconut flavor, sweet, soft and chewy. Another thing making Ben Tre coconut candy so special is its edible rice paper wrap. It looks like a super-thin plastic layer but you can eat it and it's very tasty too.
If you want to visit a coconut candy factory, you can take part in a day tour of the Mekong Delta. This is a great chance to learn more about the coconut candy making-process as well as gain real experience when tasting one at the local factory.
7. Banh Bo Thot Not (Steamed Rice Cake With Palm Sugar)
Last but not least is Banh Bo Thot Not (steamed rice cake with palm sugar), another specialty in Mekong Delta. This cake is smaller than your hand and made from two main ingredients: rice flour and thot not (palmyra palm sugar or brown sugar).
Vietnam is an agricultural country, therefore, rice flour can be easily found everywhere in this country but palmyra palm sugar only has in some provinces of Mekong Delta. With the unique yellow of palmyra palm, this special cake brings to foodies an excellent taste of sweetness and greasy flavor. Banh Bo Thot Not is a famous sweet dish of Mekong delta that is often served as a dessert in family meals or parties.
Travel means to explore new things about new countries and regions. A journey to the Mekong Delta is surely a great opportunity to discover the culture as well as to sample the local delicacies in Vietnam. Therefore, let Top Mekong Cruises helps you gain unforgettable experiences while visiting this Southeast Asian country.