Cá thòi lòi nướng muối ớt – Grilled giant mudskippers with chilies and salt
The giant mudskippers (ca thoi loi), or also known as tree-climbing fish literally in Vietnamese, is a unique kind of fishes in the Mekong region. They have a fancy and exotic appearance and live in brackish waters and coastal mangrove areas. In the south of Vietnam, the giant mudskippers are cooked into various appetizing dishes and the grilled giant mudskippers with chilies and salt is the most wonderful specialty among those, which cannot be refrained especially on the rainy days.
On the flaming coal grill with a sizzling red fire, those giant mudskippers gradually turn color and send out an aromatic fragrance that make you feel hungry. After being grilled, the fishes become chewier, do not have a fishy smell anymore. Instead, they have a unique sweetness and aroma. The spicy taste of chili powder mixed with other spices in every giant mudskipper skewer create a bucolic and incredibly yummy cuisine and have many nutrition as well.
Cá linh kho tiêu – Stewed Siamese mud carp with pepper
The Siamese mud carp is a species of freshwater cyprinid fish, a variety of Asian carp native to the Mekong. It is one of the Southern specialties during the floating market because of the rich flavor, tangy aroma from the mixture of sweetness and mellow taste of the fish with the mild spicy of pepper and salty taste of fish sauce.
In Vietnamese cuisine world, stewing is a common way to cook for any kinds of fishes. However, the stewed Siamese mud carp with pepper, or with sugarcane or with crunchy peanuts would definitely bring you the most wonderful taste ever and the sublimation with different tones of feeling on a Southern rainy day.
Chuột đồng nướng – Grilled field mice
The field mice is not only a familiar rustic dish in a poor countryside but it is also preferred by a large amount of dinners. The dish has become the most favorite one for many tourists and it has been cooked into various delicious dishes in many restaurants.
After cleaning carefully, the field mouse are marinated with different spices in 30 minutes and then grilled on the flaming coal grill until they emit a pleasant smell and turn into a beautiful brown from every side. The meat is quite chewy and intense, has a natural sweetness and no words cannot describe its tempting taste. Eating the grilled field mouse and sipping few glasses of white wine while listening to the melody of “Cai luong” (a form of modern folk opera in the South of Vietnam) would definitely be a memorable experience.
Cá kèo nướng – Grilled mudskipper
The mudskippers mainly appear during the floating season in many canals and rivers in the Mekong region. Sitting around the coal grill, you can be warmed up while smelling the fragrance of those mudskipper skewers, which will alleviate the cool and wet feeling on the rainy days.
The mudskippers can be grilled simply or with chilies and salt and eaten with the Vietnamese coriander and tamarind sauce. Eating little by little each mudskipper, you will explore an exotic flavor came from the mildness, greasy taste of the fish, saltiness of salt, the spicy taste of chilies mixed with the mellow sourness of tamarind sauce and aromatic Vietnamese coriander, even a bit bitter taste of the outside skin after being grilled.
Canh chua bông điên điển – Dien-dien flower sour soup
Dien-dien in Vietnamese is known as the Egyptian pea. Dien-dien flower is not only a beautiful flower of the Southern countryside but also a homespun dish in the daily meals of the locals here. The dien-dien flower sour soup is the one that cannot be resisted during the cold rainy season.
The dien dien flower sour soup can be cooked with the Siamese mud carp, Vietnamese catfish or prawn. If you have a chance to try the dien-dien flower sour of the Southern flower, you will feel the harmonious combination of the mild sweetness, soothe sourness mixed with the sour mixed with the greasy taste of the fish and you will definitely memorize this special flavor.
Bánh xèo nấm mối – The Vietnamese pancake with mushrooms
“Banh xeo”-the Vietnamese pancakes with mushrooms is the simple and rustic dish of the Southern people. During the rainy season, people gather together to enjoy the crunchy, yellow Vietnamese pancakes, hot and delectable taste.
The Vietnamese pancake with mushrooms is similar the original Vietnamese pancakes. It is made from the same ingredients, only different with mushrooms inside. The “green” taste of mushrooms, the fleshy green bean, the coconut flavor from the pancake powder, peanut oil, and eggs combined with the salty and spicy of mixed fish sauce and the taste of different herbs would blow your mind right away after only the first bite.
Those cold and wet days during the Southern rainy season is warmer when you have a family meal together with these simple, homey and delicious dishes. The dishes not only bring a new excitement for tourists but also make you go vibrate because of the taste of the serene, peaceful countryside atmosphere.
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