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12 strange and unforgettable specialties in Central Highlands

Those who have come to the Central Highlands wind and sunshine will surely be fascinated by countless specialties here, from wild meat to home-grown dishes. All the dishes in the Central Highlands of Vietnam have the same characteristics: natural, rustic, delicious but simple processing.

Deer meat in Dak Lak

Now, deer meat is becoming a specialty of the Central Highlands, particularly in Dak Lak because it becomes rare in the North West. Raw deer meat is different from beef in being less fat than, fat is pale white color and more tender than veal. The restaurants of fresh deer meat in Buon Ma Thuot – the central city of Dak Lak province have put deer dishes on their menu with roasted deer, stir fried deer, sauté diced deer, fried deer ribs, deer meat boiled in vinegar, stomach porridge and finally dry deer, all together becomes 7 dishes from deer. But roasted deer, deer jerky and deer meat boiled in vinegar are the most typical dishes.

Deer meat in Dak Lak
Deer meat in Dak Lak

Leaf salad

If you come to the mountainous town in the north of the Central Highlands (Kon Tum), you are invited to join the residents of the mountainous region to enjoy specialty of leaf salad. Greens leaves are selected from over 40 different types of leaves, many of which are very familiar, but also those that have to be sought from the Central Highland forests such as sesame leaves, ginseng, mustard greens, guava leaves, figs, paederia foetida, cinnamon, basil, fish mint… Each type of leaves has a different therapeutic effect. Enwrap these leaves into a funnel to put the food inside. The dishes go with leaves are pork, roasted shrimp, pig skin mixed with roasted glutinous rice flour. The sauce is made from rice wine, cooked in the oil, mixed with duck egg to become thick sauce.

Leaf salad
Leaf salad

Bamboo-tube rice

Bamboo-tube rice has become a specialty dish attracted travelers. To make delicious bamboo-tube rice requires a meticulous in detail. When the rice is cooked, remove the black layer from the outside of the bamboo-tube in clever way until the cover of rice is just a thin layer of bamboo. Cut each tube into five or seven pieces. When eating, you just peel off the outer layer, eat with chicken or grilled wild boar (baked in bamboo tube). However, rice is best served with sesame salt.

Leaf salad
Leaf salad

Grilled chicken in Don Village

For the delicious grilled chicken, the people of Don Village are very elaborate in chicken raising and cooking. First of all, the chicken must be the freedom ranger chickens. The chicken is often clamped on the bamboo stick and then evenly roasts over the fire of coal. To eat roasted chicken in Don Village in right way, it must dip the chicken with chili salt or lemon grass salt. No matter what kind of salt, it is necessary to pound salt with green pepper chili. This type of pepper chilli grows wild in the garden; crispy, aromatic and very attractive.

Grilled chicken in Don Village
Grilled chicken in Don Village

Wild vegetables

According to local people, wild vegetables in Gia Lai just become popular about a few years ago. In the past, it was the “anti-hunger” dish of the Truong Son soldiers. It is widely grown everywhere, every season, but the best wild vegetables are at the beginning of the rainy season, when the tree offer the glossy, green and young treetop. It is associated with the mountainous forests of Gia Lai region so people from far away to Gia Lai, who want to find something new for their meal, will be introduced wild vegetables.

Wild vegetables
Wild vegetables

Hemibagrus or crystal eyed catfish

Hemibagrus, a specialty that nature has bestowed to people on the Central Highlands, is kind of freshwater fish, belonging to the catfish family, which is abundant in the Serepok River. Crystal eyed catfish is sweet, fatty and delicious so it is in the menu of restaurants and hotels, many customers prefer this fish. Hemibagrus are used to make fish powder, braised fish, steamed fish, fried fish with garlic or cooked with porridge, all dishes are also delicious.

Hemibagrus or crystal eyed catfish
Hemibagrus or crystal eyed catfish

Wild eggplant (turkey berry) soup

Ethnic groups in the Central Highlands – Dak Lak, Dak Nong often use bitter wild eggplant to prepare dishes for meals to prevent and treat diseases, rheumatism or pain. The bitter wild eggplant grows on the upland fields and then is grown in the garden; almost every Ede house has a bitter turkey berry. Branches are spiny, have fruit all year round; more thorns more bitter, as bitter as bitter melon. Wild eggplant (turkey berry) soup is often added chili. Pig skin is cut about the size of two fingers to cook in the pot of turkey berry soup to increase fatty taste, significantly delicious.

Wild eggplant (turkey berry) soup
Wild eggplant (turkey berry) soup

Grilled bamboo shoots stir-fried with beef

Just few people know about grilled bamboo shoots. This is a specialty dish in Ea Sol commune, Ea Hleo district, Dak Lak province. Bamboo shoots are cooked so that only stir-fried it and you can add beef together. While frying, stir it constantly to keep beef not dry and stick to the bottom of the pan. The aroma of beef, onion, grilled bamboo shoots is great. Those who are not used to eating spicy food can flow tears, but the aroma of rice and grilled bamboo shoots will help you forget spicy taste.

Grilled bamboo shoots stir-fried with beef
Grilled bamboo shoots stir-fried with beef

Anh Vu carp

On Central Highlands, wild vegetables are also put into fish hot pot, most of the fish caught from Se San River. The majestic river in addition to the hydropower also contains in the water of rare species of fish such as striped fish, crystal eyed catfish, even Anh Vu carp. The meat of Anh Vu carp is solid but tender, white and fragrant; it was cooked into a few dishes: grilled fish, grilled with chili, steamed, sour hot pot with bamboo shoots. More attractive is the crispy fried fish with ginger, you will confuse this fish with chicken but fish is more delicious.

Anh Vu carp
Anh Vu carp

Hot pot with wild leaves

Long ago, the hot pot with leaves became a specialty of the indigenous peoples. Enjoy the hot pot with steamed wild boar, or other wildlife will help you feel the taste of the land of wilderness. The spicy taste of fresh leaves, accompanied by the sweetness of the spices will be something that you never forget to have if you had enjoyed the hot pot with wild leaves.

Hot pot with wild leaves
Hot pot with wild leaves

Grilled native pork

Native pig is a kind of pig raised in the wild. Two dished: highland roasted pork and chili salted roasted pork both have good smell because of the marinated spices: onion, coriander, basil, lemongrass, and chili. Highland roasted pork is chopped and stringed by bamboo stick, chili salted roasted pork is cut by a knife on the table.

Grilled native pork
Grilled native pork

Beef jerky

The dish is made from fresh beef, cut into thin pieces, marinated with spices and dry in the sun for a day. Then put beef jerky in the storage bag, when eating just take out the beef jerky cooked on the charcoal stove and enjoy with ants salt of the ethnic minority.

Beef jerky
Beef jerky
About the author

Hi, I'm Ho Lam! That's me, the boy who wants more experience each day. I'm slowly but surely working my way, travelling and sharing is my taste. The articles of this blog are not only from me, but also from my friends and the travellers mailed to me.

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