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The morning taste of Cai Rang in Can Tho

Tue, 09 Sep 2014 . Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:48

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Being the fourth large city of Vietnam, Can Tho is well known for floating markets, rice-paper making villages and picturesque river cannels. Especially, cuisine in Can Tho is an indispensable thing of this city.

First destination you cannot ignore is Cai Rang Floating Market. It not only is the trade center for the city, but also keeps many unique cultural value of the Mekong Delta region. The floating market only meets in the early morning. The busiest time of the day in Cai Rang floating market is around 7a.m. The most commodities traded in this market are mostly groceries such as fruit, vegetables, breakfast and etc. It is very early in the morning, but there are a lot of boats trading on the river. The communities sold here are like a market on the land, except that this is a market on the river. The buyers and sellers go by boats, each store is a boat. Surely local people know how to row.

The floating market is often associated with fruit farms, because people from fruit farms around here often bring fruit and groceries of their family selling here. Because the Cai Rang floating market opens in the early morning, so it is very easy to find the breakfast right on the  boat. There are both wholesale and retail here. Wholesales often stay on the boat for several days without going ashore. Many families that sell goods in the market actually come from other regions. They stay in their boats until their good are sold and then move somewhere else. The goods being hung on each pole indicates the goods the boat’s owner is selling.

This is an experience I will never forget. I have never thought I will have the chance instead of learning from the local people here I get to cook on the boat and introduce to local as well as visitors which I have been eaten and cooked at home. I have great time in Cai Rang floating market this morning. Talking about morning, there is one kind of popular Can Tho food which is very popular in this region is wet rice cake. From what I am observing, the making of “banh uot” is somehow like that “banh cuon” in the North.

Its taste is really much same the “banh cuon” or roll pancake in the North. But the only difference is that wet rice cake is served with sausage, bean sprouts, peanuts and pie. Instead of having a separate bowl of fish sauce like in the North, here people pour directly fish sauce over the cake. The main ingredient of this cake is rice powder.  We soak rice in water overnight, and get rid of the water and grind the rice. Later, add water to the rice powder until you reach the desired consistency of the mixture. The final step is spreading a thin layer over this special pan and streams it until cooked.

Grilled meal ball is a specialty of Cai Rang district, Can Tho City for many years. Mrs. Thu is not only the grilled meat ball maker but also the person who keep traditional recipe. She has been making this dish more than 10 years now.

Reporter: How did you get to make and sell the dish in the first place?

Mrs. Thu: I used to sell many things for a living before I first made meat balls such as rice cakes, dried fruits and the like. And then I remembered back when I was a little girl, Cai Rang district was famous for its delicious grilled meat balls. Numerous stores sold this dish back then. However, the dish gradually disappeared. I didn’t want this traditional dish to disappear, so I learnt how to make the dish, and gradually improved my skills day by day. People started to notice my store, and later words of mouth have brought more customers.

To make the dish, firstly, we have to choose the fresh lean pork, slice the fork and marinate with grilled garlic, chopped garlic, fish sauce, salt, and other spices. Wait for half an hour, when the spices have absorbed, put all in the blender, add sugar and pepper.  Finally, adding the fat to make the meat balls not to be dried. Cai Rang grilled meat balls is renowned for exception flavor which about the fresh pork then grill on the charcoal. Locals often eat this dish with noodles, banh hoi and various kinds of fennel vegetables. If you have the chance to Can Tho, you will be enchanted by the flavor of grilled meat balls once you try it.

 

Source: VTV4 – VTV.vn

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