7 must-try dishes in Ninh Binh
Besides valuable historic relics, charming natural landscapes, Ninh Binh also attracts travelers because of unique gastronomy with delicious food characterized Northern rustic area. If you have chances to visit Ninh Binh, let’s note down those below dishes and try them!
1 – Ninh Binh rice crust
Rice crust is one of the special dishes of Ninh Binh. This dish is made from cooked rice sliced into round shapes. After cooled down, the round slices are soaked into hot oil pan until they turn yellow. Beef and pig’s heart and kidney are crushed into thin slices and mixed with spices and ingredients like tomato, carrot, onion and mushroom. Then the mixture is well-fried and put into the burned rice bowl. Ninh Binh burned rice owns light yellow color, crispy but still supple, fat but not bored.
2 – Nhech fish salad Kim Son
Nhech fish salad (or cá nhệch) is a special dish in Ninh Binh but you have to try this salad in Kim Son where considered as best place to enjoy it. This is complicated process to create this dish. The first bite of Nhech salad will bring you the attractive aroma of roasted sticky rice, light sour of vinegar interjected to the spicy of ginger, garlic, pepper, chili and lemon grass. You will never forget this taste.
3 – Mountainous snails
Mountainous snails are abundant in the limestone mountains of Tam Diep town, Yen Mo, Nho Quan. They usually appear from April to August every year, during the rainy season, when the weather is wet. Main food of snails is the plants that grow wild in the mountains including the valuable medicinal plants and it become a typical dish of Ninh Binh. Therefore, people only preliminary processing it to protect herbs inside snails. Mountainous snails’ meat is chewy, crispy and sweet which can be processed into many dishes: steamed with ginger, stir-fried with chili, mixed salad .
4 – Rare goat meat
Tai De or Rare goat meat is a specialty food in Ninh Binh which can help both fostering the body and being a rustic medicine because goats eat many precious medicinal herbs. The limestone mountains of Hoa Lu are shelter of these free-ranging domestic goats (the wild mountain goat in Viet Nam, the serow capricornis sumatraensis is strictly protected and very unique). The mountain breeding goats are caught, well burnt, disemboweled, plucked and mixed with holly basil or duckweed for over 10 minutes. The goat meat is cut pieces (with skin), dipping them in boiling water until half-cooked. As they are cool, they are evenly sliced (vertically).
The half-cooked sliced meat shall be mixed with fried-sesame, which is roughly crushed, sliced-chilly, lemon leaf, ginger, chopped up-citronella, lemon juice and sodium glutamate. That’s it, a very excellent dish. Eating rare goat always accompany with fig leaf, green banana, star fruit…. particularly soybean jam.
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5 – Yen Mac fermented pork roll
Nem Chua has been made for such a long time. Nowadays, Yen Mac roll appears in many local and other provinces’ restaurants and hotels. The number of locals in Yen Mac who can make this kind of nem chua is not many today because the work requires not only secret formula but also passion for the work. The production process need to be strictly followed; the finished fermented pork rolls ensure high quality, good taste, fresh colors, even slices, which can be kept for a week without degeneration of quality. The roll can be kept from 5 to 7 days and remain fresh, tasty and crispy. Yen Mac roll are served with a plate of lettuce or mint, they are supposed to wrap guava leaf, herbs around each roll, then dip it in fish sauce mixed with lemon juice, chopped garlic, chilly or pepper.
6 – Perch sour soup
Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu district is the home of many caves with big and fleshy perch. Perch sour soup is the specialty of the karst along delta. In order to make this dish, you have to need pickles to remove smell of fish and create an attractive aroma for the soup. This dish has a sweet mixed with sour taste of pickles, the cool fresh taste of tomatoes & tofu, fleshy, crunchy and aromatic taste of perch.
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7 – Ninh Binh eel vermicelli
Together with rice crust, rare goat meat, eel vermicelli is also one of famous dishes in Ninh Binh. Eels are washed carefully with vinegar, removed the inside, mixed with spices like red chili, onion pepper, fish sauce and then fried in hot oil until fragrant and yellow. Banana flower is cut into thin threads and soaked in salt water for 5-7 minutes and then fried with mashed onion. Eel vermicelli noodles is often eaten with ginger, “la lot” and sourness of lemon juice converge on the eel vermicelli bowl that make a try worth a thousand words.
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