Six must-try specialties of Cu Lao Cham
When coming to Cu Lao Cham in Da Nang, not only will you be overwhelmed by its peaceful and green beauty, but you can also have the opportunity to taste a lot of delicious dishes. Here are the six delicious dishes you must try when coming here.
Jungle vegetable (Rau Rung)
Jungle vegetables are the specialty of Cu Lao Cham. Photo: amthucvietnam.net
Jungle vegetables are one of the unique specialties of Cu Lao Cham that you should definitely try when coming here. In fact, jungle vegetables are not a specific type of vegetable but are very rich in variety - there are dozens of types of wild vegetables and each of which has different healing effects. The vegetables often grow wild in the mountain crevices and foothills, late spring and early summer being their main harvest season.
The boiled jungle vegetables have a slightly bitter taste, but the more you eat it, the sweeter they become. Photo: Zingnews
In the past, when life of the people in Cu Lao Cham was still difficult, they used jungle vegetables as their main dish. Depending on the cooking method, you can enjoy boiled, stir-fried or mixed (salad) jungle vegetables. Notably, the boiled dish must be enjoyed with anchovy paste (mắm nêm in Vietnamese) - the taste is a bit bitter, but the more you eat it, the sweeter it becomes.
Stone crab (Cua Da)
Stone crab is also a specialty of Cu Lao Cham you should try during your trip in Da Nang. The crabs here often live in caves and eat plants, therefore, when eating them, you will feel the sensation of Oriental medicine - and this is the highlight that makes this dish different. Cu Lao Cham stone crabs have big claws, and its weight ranges from 100 to 400g. There are many delicious dishes that can be made from stone crabs, but the most basic one is the stone crab steamed with beer to keep the fresh taste of the ingredients. At the same time, you should also enjoy the dish on the island rather than take it home.
Stone crab - Cu Lao Cham specialty with typical Oriental herbal flavour. Photo: haisan.vn
Sea urchin (Cau Gai)
Sea urchin is also an important ingredient to make delicious dishes in Cu Lao Cham. Regardless of its ugly shape with thorns outside, its taste will definitely surprise you. The easiest way to make the dish from sea urchins is to cut them in half, add some peanuts and fried shallots (or you can add some egg) and then grill them. The greasy taste of sea urchin combined with peanuts and the aroma of fried shallots will definitely impress you from the first taste.
Grilled sea urchin with shallots. Photo: thamquanculaocham.net
If you are a “gourmet”, you can try raw sea urchin - cut sea urchins in half, remove the blood veins and you can enjoy them directly. This dish is often served with mustard greens or mustard, together with some salt, pepper and lemon. The pungent and acrid taste of mustard and mustard greens will overwhelm the fishy taste of sea urchin, whilst at the same time creating a greasy and sweet aftertaste.
The raw sea urchin is often served with mustard, mustard greens, salt and pepper. Photo: Asia.vn
Abalone is an extremely rare species of snail, which is also known as “Oc Cuu Khong” (due to its nine holes on the shell) or “Hai Nhi” (due to its resemblance to the ear) in Vietnamese. To catch abalone, fishermen have to dive deep to the bottom of the sea and have to work hard to separate them from the rock.
You can enjoy abalone - an expensive seafood - when coming to Cu Lao Cham. Photo: foody.vn
Abalone is rich in nutrients, so you do not need to soak or wash it for too long, thus avoiding any loss of nutrients - you just need to wash it swiftly to remove the sand or soil, then make boiled, steamed, stir-fried dishes or even porridge. It is noted that many people are in favour of boiled abalone with ginger. In order for the abalone meat not to shrink without cracks after being boiled, it is necessary to put the abalone in the pot when the ginger juice is slightly hot. Abalone is served with salt, pepper and lemon, which has a unique sweet, fragrant and greasy taste unlike any other seafood.
Cellana has a strange pyramid shape. Photo: dantri
Another Cu Lao Cham specialty is steamed snails such as moon snails (oc mat trang), the species of Tonnidae (oc giay) and especially Cellana (oc vu nang). The Cellana has a very strange pyramid shape - the outer shell is black and gray while the inside is sparkling with nacre. The snails appear most on full moon days.
There are many ways to make dishes from Cellana, but the most delicious one is still steamed snails to keep the fresh and sweet taste of the meat. It is noted that the snails should not be too well-cooked to prevent the meat from being tough, causing difficulties for you to remove the meat from the shell. The Cellana snail has a very unique sweet taste and crispy texture, and you can enjoy it with ginger fish sauce and Vietnamese coriander.
Cellana meat has a crispy texture and sweet taste. Photo: eva
Glutinous rice cake (Banh It La Gai)
In the past, glutinous rice cake only appeared in traditional festivals of Cu Lao Cham, but due to its delicious taste, it is enjoyed in daily life and has become a specialty of this island. You can easily see a stall selling this kind of cake on any street in Cu Lao Cham.
Glutinous rice cakes are sold on the streets of Cu Lao Cham. Photo: culaochamtour
The cake is made from glutinous rice flour with pureed ramie leaves, so it has a very characteristic taste. Meanwhile, the cake filling is a combination of mung beans and shredded coconut, which is very fragrant and sweet. Notably, the cake is wrapped in an eye-catching piece of green banana leaf. Try the cake once and you will remember its flavour forever.
The cake has a fragrant filling and a characteristic flavour from pureed ramie leaves. Photo: yesvietnam
Cu Lao Cham attracts visitors not only with its blue sea and pristine white sand, but also with its unique cuisine with delicious specialties. Don't forget to enjoy dishes made from ingredients such as jungle vegetables, snails and sea urchins to better understand the features of this beautiful island.