Keyword suggestions: Minh Long Contest Golden Spoon Awards

New ingredients appear first time on Vietnamese food map

Tuesday, 12/27/2016 14:33
Given local produce from pristine mountainous regions to riverine plains, the Golden Spoon Awards competitors keep searching and exploring dozens of unique spices and herbs to enrich the national cuisine and pin down on the country’s food map.

For a long time pink cassia has been a familiar species with those who live along the rivers of Dong Thap Muoi swamp. In addition to being among tincture ingredients, the fruit flesh is also extracted to make digestive or laxative stimulants. Its medicinal values equate to that of Cinchona plants. The riper the fruits are, the sweeter they taste. This ingredient is made into pork stew with pink cassia wine served with bread by Thang Loi 1 Restaurant or pink cassia seed sweet soup by Hoa Binh An Giang 1 Hotel.

Thickhead is a wild succulent herb of Asteraceae family found on different terrains. Its nutrient profile lacks iron agents, hence, it is suggested to pair with squash or water spinach. According to traditional medicine records, the plant has bitter taste with antitoxin and skin healing properties, acting as anti-inflammation, anti-bacterial and hemostatic agents.

Embelia ribes is also called thun mun, chua leo or phi tu. Ripe fruits are picked, then ground to remove skins, dried and crushed into powder. Its first taste is sour, which causes slight numb. The ingredient is featured in the menu of Palace Vung Tau Hotel as in avocado salad with embelia ribes leaves, crab, salmon roe and roselle flower sauce.

Curry tree is a shrub plant, 1-2 meters in height, whose leaves, fruit, bark and root can be used to either season, eat or feature in medicinal recipes. According to Indian traditional medicine, curry leaf play the role of a tonic ingredient and stomach stimulant. Palace Vung Tau Hotel made use of this herb to cook with lanceolate buffalo ear leaf stuffed chicken, served with curry gravy and curried rice.

Lim kim is wild vines whose sprigs are soft and small. Its natural habitat is among shrubs and, sometimes, along fences. During sunny season, due to lack of water, the leaves turn dry and taste more bitter. When the first rain of the year comes, they look fresh with light sourness, crispy and aromatic. This ingredient was introduced by Binh Quoi 1 Resort in mantis shrimp in shiny-leaf prickly-ash sauce served with lim kim and palm heart salad.

Siamese rough bush belongs to Moraceae family, whose parts can be harvested year-round. Boiled buds dipped with fermented fish paste or dry buds stir-fried and finely chopped could be either an exquisite, medicinal dish. The plant’s property includes astringent bitterness which plays a role in body cooling, detoxifying, blood depletion, hemostatic and antibacterial agent. With steamed shrimp in siamese rough bush leaves, Thang Loi 1 Restaurant won the first prize in Mekong Delta regional prelim.

Straits rhododendron grows wildly in hilly areas of the Central Coast. Its stem, branches and thickly arranged leaves have short, brown rough hairs. The entire plant can be used to create medicinal recipes which help cool down body, detoxify, prevent emphysema, improve circulation, killing pain, stopping bleeding and reducing swollen wounds, etc. Song Be Golf Resort utilized this plant to make water hyacinth bulb salad with straits rhododendron dressing.

Chickweed, whose common names are co hoi, rang tho (bunny teeth – since rabbits love eating them), etc., can be found on random mounds. Culinary expert Chiem Thanh Long said there had been several studies on its medicinal properties. Chef Le Vo Anh Duy used chickweed, which was cooked to remove its bitter essence, to prepare chickweed rolled triton snail with wild pepper dipping fish sauce.

Sumac fruit is a key ingredient usually added to carabeef during major festive and religious events of ethnic communities in the Central Highlands. The tree often bears bean-sized fruits in spring. Dry fruits turn dark brown, and have both salty and light sour taste. 79 Gia Bao Restaurant, with all cleverness, tried to feature this spice into the dish of lesser spiny eel served in sumac fruit sauce served with five leaves, and free-range chicken stew with sumac fruit and vermicelli.

By Giang Hoang Nhon/Zing

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