Discovering Special Dishes in Lai Chau Province

10:21:46 AM | 6/28/2023

Lai Chau is a great place for travelers who want to experience peace and tranquility in the Northwest mountains. The province is famous for its charming places and landscapes as well as its distinctive dishes imbued with indigenous culture.

Lai Chau lies north of the Da River and borders Yunnan province (China). The province has many caves, majestic waterfalls and glamorous untouched scenery, making it one of the most impressive and attractive places of exploration for tourists. Lai Chau is home to 20 ethnic groups that form a multi-colored cultural space.

This land is also famous for delicious dishes imbued with indigenous culture, blended with forest flavors like thua nau (a fish made from a fermented well-ground soybean, marinated with spices), pa dinh (a grilled fish dish marinated with local spices), boiled chicken with indigenous spices, ash-covered baked goby, purple sticky rice, smoked pork, bamboo shoots with marinated flowers, coriander salad, dishes made from rock mosses, bitter leaf soup with blood curd, Sung Phai corn wine and Thai grilled fish.

Pork dishes

 Pork: Pork from small pigs carried to the market is a specialty in the mountainous northwest. The pigs are freely fed in the forest. An adult pig weighs only 10-15kg. As they eat only leaves and vegetables in the forest, their meat is very firm and delicious. The pork is processed into many delicious dishes such as steamed, grilled, stew and soup. Every dish is marinated and cooked with wild leaves and seeds and brings a unique taste, especially for first-time visitors to enjoy.

Ash-buried goby: If you have the chance to go to Phong Tho district, you should not forget to enjoy ash-buried goby - a specialty of the Thai people. Goby, caught from rivers and streams, is marinated with minced spices such as lemongrass, chili, ginger, pepper, prickly ash (zanthoxylum rhetsa) and basil. Marinated in 15-30 minutes, the fish will be wrapped in dong leaves and buried in hot ash. Turn it over every 30 minutes several times until it gets done.

Pa Pinh Top

Pa Pinh Top: Pa Pinh Top (grilled folded fish) is a rather sophisticated dish, often used to entreat distinguished guests. A fresh whole carp is grilled. It is rubbed with salt and dried chili powder to get rid of the fishy smell, it is seasoned with herbs such as prickly ash (a variety of wild pepper), ginger, garlic, lemongrass, onion, wild herbs and paprika. All are stuffed into the fish's belly.

Purple sticky rice: Purple sticky rice manifests women’s ingenuity in cooking. Upland sticky rice is well soaked for 6-8 hours before being steamed. The sticky rice is colored with wild leaves.

Purple sticky rice

Grilled rock moss: Rock moss is a clean vegetable of Lai Chau. It is very carefully collected from rocks by streams to cook delicious dishes such as soup, grilled dishes, and stir-fried dishes. After being well cleaned by water, moss is placed on a big rock or a cutting board and smashed with a wooden stick before being cooked.

Vegetable fern salad: Vegetable fern grows everywhere like home gardens, ponds and streams. It is cooked for daily meals by Thai people in Lai Chau. It is simple to make this specialty: Select young tops, wash them in water and dry them in the sun, then cook and mix them with herbs, chili, ginger, garlic, pasta, salt and lemon.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum