Phu Yen Province is famous not only for many beautiful sights along the central coast but also for a variety of unique and exotic dishes. This article will provide tourists the information about these foods including Hoa Da girdle cake, “dit” leaf sour soup, ocean tuna and fresh seafood from O Loan lagoon…
Traditional girdle cake
From An My Commune village in Tuy An District, there are thousands of Hoa Da girdle cake made everyday and sold to local people and in other parts of Vietnam. About 30 percent of local family earn a living by making girdle cakes.
Hoa Da girdle cakes are thick, uniform and well dried in the sun. When we grill girdle cakes on hot charcoal, cakes are very fragrant and when dipped into water, cakes are not sticky.
Local people here can make a lot of delicious dishes with Hoa Da girdle cakes but the most popular one is girdle cake rolled with boiled pork and raw vegetables which are picked from the village fields, then dipped in fish sauce which is made from East Sea fish.
Hoa Da girdle cake is a very popular and inexpensive gift which people usually give their friends and relatives.
“Dit” leaf sour soup
In the mountainous communes of Tuy An and Son Hoa District, families often cook a special sour soup with “dit” leaves – a kind of leaves which grow abundantly in these areas.
You can cook a variety of food with “dit” leaves such as fish, crab and jungle birds… but the most favourite way is to cook “dit” leaves with fresh chicken. To make the best taste of this food, local people enjoy it with a mixture of fish sauce and chopped forest chillies along with a strong drink. An unforgettable flavor appears when the sourness of “dit” leaves mixed with the greasy sweetness of chicken meat.
O Loan lagoon, which is a beautiful sight of Phu Yen Province, offers a variety of seafood including fish, crab, shrimps, oyster… Oyster is a speciality that is caught all year round by local residents. The peak season to enjoy the most delicious oysters falls often between the end of spring and the beginning of summer, when oysters are found to be clinging on to coral reefs and stones under the water.
If you just look at the shell of an oyster, you might think it’s a stone! Indeed, the meat inside is really good. To marinate the oysters, you immerse them in vinegar, simmer with unripe banana, then cook with red beans to create an unforgettable flavor of this famous Phu Yen food.
Besides, O Loan lagoon has a special kind of fish called the “mai” fish, which are found between March and July. A well-known dish made from this fish is fish salad. First of all, the fresh fish heads and womb are cut-off. Then the fish meat is soaked in salt water to marinate for a while. Finally, spices including lemon, roasted peanuts, basil, coriander, green tomatoes, green banana and star fruit… are added.
Tuna fish fried with citronella and chilly
Phu Yen is also home to ocean tuna, which can be cooked in many ways such as grilled tuna dipped in mustard, fried tuna with chilly and citronella. The fried tuna is very good, greasy, fragrant and has a sweet taste of fresh fish.
Steamed “chem” fish
In Phu Yen, many “chem” fish (also called giant perch) are found in caves under brackish water of river mouths, canals, lagoons, especially in shrimp breeding lagoons.
Travellers will never forget the feeling when to enjoy steamed “chem” fish with spring onions. To cook this food, the fish is mixed with spices and put into pots on a mini gas oven, then cook until the water boils. Next people add scallion, vermicelli and water dropwort into it.
Steamed “chem” fish would keep its original delicious taste when it is still hot and served with girdle cake and raw vegetables.