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7 Best Dishes in Mekong Delta

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Mekong Delta is a very wide area in South Vietnam. With hundreds of rivers and channels which provide the unlimited source of water for the rich soil, Mekong Delta produces million tons of rice, fruits, and other farm products every year and called “the rice bowl of Vietnam”. Because of that reason, along with the rich culture and custom, Mekong Delta has a great variety of cuisines that will impress every traveler. 

1. Hu Tieu Nam Vang (Nam Vang noodle soup)

Whenever someone mentions noodles in Vietnam, most of the tourists will immediately think about Pho. But there a dozens of delicious Vietnamese dishes made from noodles but not Pho; for example, Hu Tieu Nam Vang. Traveling around Mekong delta you will have the chance to try many different Hu Tieu.

A bowl of Hu tieu Nam Vang - best dishes in Mekong Delta

A bowl of Hu tieu Nam Vang

Hu Tieu is very popular in the South of Vietnam, perhaps, more popular than Pho in some regions. Hu Tieu is the combination of pork broth, dried noodle, herbs, and minced pork is a must. In some areas, people add different ingredients such as seafood and make the dish even better.

2. Banh Bot Loc

Banh Bot Loc is sold everywhere in Mekong Delta. This delicious dish is usually eaten as a snack. It is made from rice flour, filled with a shrimp, minced pork, and herbs of course. The combination then will be steamed and served with sweet and sour fish sauce, fresh vegetables. The wrapping of Banh Bot Loc is so clear that you can see what’s inside.

You can see what’s inside Banh bot loc - Mekong Delta Food

You can see what’s inside Banh bot loc

Banh bot loc is pretty chewy and taste funny at first, but then you will like it and can’t stop at one or two. This is a delicious dish from Mekong Delta which is loved by every visitor.

3. Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake)

Banh Xeo is a kind of Vietnamese fried pancake made from flour, water, eggs, turmeric powder, and stuffed with individual preference. The thin crust of this dish looks simple but the chef has to be extremely careful not to break it. The stuff inside usually a combination of ear mushroom, bean sprout, minced pork, shrimps, or just vegetable if you are a vegetarian. The dish is served with fresh vegetables, herbs, sweet fish sauce, pepper, garlic, you can also order a dish of grilled beef and some Nem Lui to enjoy with it.

Banh xeo is a very special cuisine of Mekong Delta

Banh xeo is a very special cuisine of Mekong Delta

A golden crispy cover with hot fillings inside, combined with local vegetables and herbs, dip it into special sweet and sour fish sauce, a big bite of Banh xeo will be an unforgettable feast of senses in your mouth.

4. Goi Cuon (Spring roll)

Spring roll is too famous among foreign visitors when they visit Vietnam. Spring rolls are made with rice wrapping paper. People put minced pork, vermicelli, crabs, and many herbs inside. Goi Cuon is served with side dishes like vegetables and of course, sweet and sour fish sauce. Keep in mind that the taste is different in Mekong Delta.

Goi Cuon - Spring Roll in Vietnam Mekong Delta

Spring rolls and fried spring rolls

You will see many ingredients from the rivers such as shrimps, fishes in their Spring Rolls. This delicious dish is pretty easy to make and you can learn and make Goi Cuon by yourself.

5. Ca Tai Tuong Chien Xu (Fried Elephant Ear Fish)

Tai Tuong means "Elephant ear" in Vietnamese. These fish are very popular in Mekong Delta. Elephant ear fishes have a thin and wide body with grey color, just like the shape of an elephant ear. People in Mekong Delta have this kind of fish in their ponds, lakes and feed them with leftover food. To make the dish taste perfectly, the fish must be fresh then deep fry in hot boiling oil. Then we will have the fried fish with crispy golden skin and smell wonderful.

Ca Tai Tuong Chien Xu - Fried Elephant Ear Fish in Vietnam Mekong Delta

This is enough for a small party for 2

The fish will be served with vermicelli, vegetable, herbs, rice paper for wrapping, and a bowl of dipping sauce. You can taste the crisp skin and tender meat of the fish. Combine with vegetables, herbs, vermicelli, and fish sauce, it will be a bite of everything. That’s how local people enjoy this dish.

6. Banh La Dua (Coconut leaf cake)

Banh La Dua is a popular dessert in Mekong Delta and you can find this treat almost everywhere here. It is made with simple ingredients but has a delicious taste which can please anyone who gives it a try. The main ingredients of Banh La Dua are sticky rice, coconut flakes, banana, and mung beans. The ingredients then will be wrapped together inside coconut leaves which were chosen carefully by the chef.

Banh la dua is very popular in Mekong Delta

Banh la dua is very popular in Mekong Delta

Simple cuisine but requires a lot of carefulness and experience from the makers.

7. Banh bo thot not (Palm sugar cake)

Another sweet dish you can find in Mekong Delta. This cake is made from rice flour mixed with palm sugar (thot not). Rice flour can be found everywhere in Vietnam but the right kind of palm sugar can only be found in some regions of Mekong Delta as this special kind of sugar made from the sap of palm trees which cannot stand the cold weather.

Banh Bo Thot Not - Mekong Delta Foods

Doesn’t look impressive but it tastes like heaven

In order to make Banh bo thot not, the rice has to be soaked into the water for at least 4 5 hours and then mix the rice flour with brown sugar. The cake itself is smaller than your hand and has a distinct yellow color. This is the specialty of Mekong delta and usually be served as a dessert in family meals or parties.

Traveling is exploring, this is true for every country and region you go to. A trip to Mekong Delta to try the local food is a wonderful idea when you are in Vietnam. Although this is not a highly developed area, the unique lifestyle and the friendliness of warm-hearted local people will give you unforgettable memories.

Hoang Nguyen

Pictures: Internet

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