Four extremely attractive rustic delicacies of Quang Binh - Quang Tri
Quang Binh and Quang Tri are two famous tourist destinations in Central Vietnam that captivate many tourists by their idyllic beauty. In addition, these places also leave a strong impression on tourists by the rustic specialties.
Quang Binh snakehead fish soup
It would be a pity for any visitor coming to Quang Binh without enjoying the specialty of snakehead fish soup. This is also considered a typical breakfast dish of people in Central Vietnam.
Snakehead fish soup is a famous rustic dish in Quang Binh. Photo: tinquangbinh
Quang Binh snakehead fish soup is different from those in other regions in terms of ingredients - it not only includes snakehead fish, but also some other types such as seafood, ribs and chicken. “Banh Canh” (a kind of rice noodle - the main ingredient of the dish) is shaped like noodles, but it is bigger. To make “Banh Canh”, people soak the rice before grinding, then knead the dough and put it in the mortar and mill until the dough is tight, tough but not sticky. Therefore, when “banh canh” is cooked, the water is still clear and not pasty. After being boiled, the meat of snakehead fish will be stir-fried with spices and cashew oil for a beautiful golden color. Fish broth with a sweet taste is stewed with pork bones to add more flavor.
A bowl of Quang Binh snakehead fish soup usually includes pure white “banh canh”, attractive pieces of golden snakehead fish, and fillings such as pork ribs, crabs and fresh shrimp. The broth inside the bowl with chopped coriander, spring onion and fried shallots will make the dish more attractive and tasty. This combination will impress you on the first taste.
Each bowl of snakehead fish soup ranges from VND 25,000 - 35,000.
Quang Tri Mussel Noodles
The main ingredient is called “chat chat” - one type of mussels - which is small, greasy and rich in nutrients. Photo: Bazantravel
With the advantage of abundant seafood resources from the sea, it is common to see that in the menus and famous specialties of Quang Tri province, all the ingredients are from the sea, and mussel noodles is not an exception. The dish is called “mussel noodles'', but actually it is made from “chat chat” - one type of mussels - which is small, greasy and rich in nutrients.
The noodles used for this dish will be small ones with moderate toughness and typical fragrance of rice. For “chat chat”, the people of Quang Tri have to skillfully clean them by soaking them in rice water, then put them in a basket to scrub vigorously to clean the mud on the outer shell. Next, people boil them, take the meat out, and then stir-fry them over high heat. The boiled water is used as the broth. They often add a little fish sauce, salt and ginger to remove the fishy smell.
People put noodles in a bowl, add some stir-fried “chat chat”, and then fill the bowl with broth, add roasted peanuts, chopped coriander and spring onion. The dish has the sweet aroma of “chat chat”, coupled with the rich taste of peanuts, noodles and broth. In Quang Tri, perhaps Mai Xa Mussel Noodles (in Soi hamlet, Gio Linh district) is the most famous for its sophistication and unique taste. The price for each bowl of mussel noodles ranges from VND 20,000 - 25,000.
Quang Binh Bumalo Hotpot
Attractive bumalo hotpot. Photo: tintuconline.com.vn
What makes this dish special is that it depends on the season - only in the season of bumalo can diners have the opportunity to enjoy the dish. Bumalo is a small fish (as big as 2 adult fingers) with a length of 12-18cm; the lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw and it has many small teeth. In some regions, bumalo is also called “porridge” fish because when cooked, it can be crushed like porridge. The season of bumalo is from October to February, so visitors coming to Quang Binh at this time can enjoy delicious bumalo hotpot.
To make the bumalo hotpot, people will choose fat, thick and delicious fish. Next, the fish is cleaned, marinated with spices and chives. The broth is made from fish meat with other ingredients such as tomatoes, starfruits, mushrooms, sour bamboo shoots, pickles and tamarind. The sweetness from the fish with the sour taste of the broth creates the harmony for the dish. The vegetables served with this hotpot are green mustard and okinawan spinach. The best time to enjoy the dish is in the cold season. Sitting by the hotpot, enjoying Quang Binh's specialty and chatting with friends will be a wonderful experience.
The price for a hot pot is about VND 200,000.
Quang Binh pancakes
Quang Hoa pancakes are famous in Quang Binh. Photo: thuexemayquangbinh.com
Pancake is a specialty of Central Vietnam. You have to go to Quang Hoa (Quang Trach district, Quang Binh province) to discover the original taste of the dish. If ordinary pancakes are made mainly from diluted rice flour, Quang Hoa pancakes are made from red brown rice flour, creating a typical color. In addition, this cake also has other ingredients such as banana, salad, vegetables and dipping sauce.
To make soft and chewy pancakes, soak rice for about 2-3 hours and then grind it. Next, add a little salt and finely chopped spring onion into the mixture, and then coat the mixture on a mold ( a size larger than a bowl; a height of 1.5cm with flat bottom). You can use multiple molds at the same time. First, heat up the mold, then rub the bottom of the mold with oil-soaked banana leaves and then put the mixture on the mold. Do the same with the next molds. When you complete the third mold, the cake in the first mold will be cooked. When making the pancakes, you must make the fire burn evenly to make the spring onion on the surface of the cake distribute beautifully.
The dipping sauce includes fish sauce, sugar, lemon, chili and garlic, creating a harmonious sweet and sour taste. Photo: Facebook
A special feature that creates a delicious, unique and strange flavor for pancakes here is the presence of bananas - they are finely chopped, boiled and bent like a fish on the surface of pancakes. Salad is made from bean sprouts and sesame. Dipping sauce is also an important part of Quang Hoa pancakes, which is made from fish sauce, sugar, lemon, chili, and garlic, creating a harmonious sweet and sour taste.
Before eating, diners put some salad on the pancake and then dip it into a bowl of dipping sauce to feel the rich flavors - the smell of spring onion, the freshness of raw vegetables, the mildly acridness of banana, and the deep taste of dipping sauce.
Each serving of pancake ranges from VND 10,000 - 20,000.
Visiting Quang Binh and Quang Tri, visitors should definitely try the above-mentioned specialties to better understand the regional culture as well as the rustic cuisine of the local people.