Coconut Rice (Com Dua)
For many people have ever set foot in Mekong Delta, Vietnam, coconut is a kind of fruit too familiar with them because it is a symbol of Ben Tre, a province of this water area. As a result, there are lots of specialties made from coconut here, such as coconut leave cake, steamed fished in coconut water, coconut fudge, coconut sweet soup, and so forth.
However, what will impress you so much is surely coconut rice which is enjoyed with fried shrimp and coconut water. This dish is created by the manager of a famous restaurant of Ben Tre; based on “sticky rice cooked in bamboo tube of mountainous provinces of Vietnam, she creates a new specialty for the water region. It is well worth trying.
Roasted Snail With Coconut Milk (Oc Len Xao Dua)
There are many types of snails which you can use to cook the delicious roasted snail with coconut milk. The fat and rich of the coconut milk blend with the elegant sweet of the snails are exceptionally enchanting. In all of the phases of making the dish, marinating is the most important one. While the snails and the coconut milk are indispensable, the lemongrass, garlic, chili, sugar, salt, and fish sauce are the key to success.
Coconut Core Salad (Cu Hu)
The “Củ hủ dừa” is the name of the core of the coconut. It can be found at the top of the tree, hidden inside the roots of the branches. The core is white and sweet, covered by a thin layer of capsule, and is big quite big. There are many ways to cook the core, and there are also many delicious dishes which have the core as main ingredients. Some dishes such as fried Củ hủ dừa with chicken organs, fried Củ hủ dừa with Vietnamese pancakes, fried Củ hủ dừa with shrimp, Củ hủ dừa salad, stew Củ hủ dừa with pork, Củ hủ dừa with meatball soup, or just simple eat it raw.
Fattened Banana (Chuoi Dap)
This nosh is associated with childhood of many Ben Tre people. Fattened bananas are only sold by street vendors as normal. Bananas here are ripe, fattened, and baked. This dish will be eaten with coconut milk. You can find this dish in the small restaurant along the Truc Giang river bank, in front of Ben Tre town hospital gate.
Coming to Ben Tre, people tend to think about the coconut tree more than anything else. Well, Ben Tre also has more to offer. One special cuisine is the termites mushroom. The mushroom grows on a termite soil extrusion, and usually edible since April of the lunar year until the mushrooms die on about July.
The best time to collect the mushroom is May. The mushroom is rich, sweet, and a bit chewy, which is a feature of this mushroom. The mushroom is highly nutritious, and could help fight aging.
Coconut mice (Chuot Dua)
The coconut mice have the sizes like the paddy field mice, but this type of mice has sharper teeth and they are harmful to the coconut trees. Using the sharp teeth, they open the coconut and eat the meat inside. Their meat is fatter than chicken and better than the regular paddy field rice mice thanks to the coconut.
There are many ways to cook the mice. You can grill, steam or roast. However, the best is the steamed coconut mice. After washing the mice and removing everything but the meat, the cook will put the meat on banana leaves, and put everything into the rice cooking pot. The meat is white and has a special smell. When eating, you can also use a bowl of salt-n-pepper lemon sauce to dip the meat and some cilantro. Visiting Ben Tre, you should write down in your check-list to try this peculiar yet amazing dish.
Snail Pancake (Banh Xeo Oc Gao)
Snail Pancake is a specialty of Ben Tre, Mekong Delta, which is partially made from this snail; you will easily find the dish in Phu Da Island, Lach Market when Parasite-Killing Festival (tet Doan Ngo) is coming soon.
The pancake’s most important ingredients are obviously snails and rice flour for making crispy round pancakes. Make sure snails must be cleaned with water and their slime is removed before they are boiled on the heat. Remove the snails from their shells and then fry them with other ingredients. This mixture is used as the filling of pancakes. It is actually mouth-watering, and you find it so hard to resist it. Then, let’s give it a try when you experience a Mekong Delta tour.