Featuring the best local foods in Ninh Binh, renowned for its majestic natural landscapes and cultural landmarks, the region of Ninh Binh captivates all travelers. In addition to its scenic beauty, the indigenous people skillfully craft a plethora of local delights, creating an incredibly tempting culinary experience.
Best local foods in Ninh Binh: Goat Meat
Speaking of best local foods in Ninh Binh, Goats in Ninh Binh, raised on rocky mountains, is known for its firm texture and tenderness, making it a must-try for visitors. Prepared in various ways such as goat spring rolls, steamed goat, grilled goat, or the renowned ginger-flavored goat, this nutritious dish offers a unique culinary experience. Many also believe that goat meat has health benefits. Don’t miss the chance to savor the famous mountain goat meat when you visit Ninh Binh!
Rice Crust (Com Chay)
One of the most beloved snacks in Ninh Binh is the crispy rice crust, known as “cơm cháy.” What sets Ninh Binh’s cơm cháy apart is its use of 100% round-grain fragrant sticky rice, ensuring a firm texture. Cooked in a cast-iron pot over wood charcoal, it achieves an evenly crisp and vibrant golden hue. When indulging in this treat, each crunchy rice grain harmonizes with the savory shredded pork, creating a delightful combination that is both rich and salty, without being overwhelming. The accompanying sauce, made from goat meat, adds a spicy and fragrant touch, elevating these local dishes in Ninh Binh to a whole new level.
Have you ever savored the specialty of mountain snails in Ninh Binh? Inhabiting limestone caves, particularly in the Tam Diep, Yen Mo, Nho Quan, and Hoa Lu areas, these snails are elusive, emerging from their hiding places only between April and August. What sets mountain snails apart and captivates travelers is their unique flavor—sweet, refreshing, and subtly herbal. With a moderate size, they lend themselves to various delicious preparations like stir-frying with tamarind, steaming with ginger, boiling, or making salads. A single bowl of gently steamed mountain snails is enough to enchant your taste buds.
Eel Vermicelli (Mien Luon)
Another best food in Ninh Binh you can’t afford to miss is Mien Luon. The eel used here is the rice paddy eel, featuring a reddish-brown back and a deep yellow belly. Although smaller than regular eels, this variety boasts firm and exceptionally flavorful meat. Served with finely shredded banana flowers, Eel Vermicelli offers a delightful combination of soft and sweet flavors that is truly irresistible. It’s a must-try dish that adds to the diverse culinary tapestry of Ninh Binh.
Nhech Fish Salad (Goi Ca Nhech)
A culinary gem in food tour Ninh Binh, “Goi Ca Nhech” or Nhech Fish Salad, is a delectable and renowned dish among the locals in Kim Son – Ninh Binh. The salad is meticulously prepared to eliminate any fishy odors, offering a delightful combination of sweetness from glutinous rice and the aromatic essence. The dipping sauce adds complexity with a perfect balance of spiciness from chili, the fragrance of lemongrass, and the warmth of black pepper. The intricate preparation makes it a memorable dish for any traveler trying it once.
Fermented Pork Roll (Nem Chua Yen Mac)
Originating from the royal nem chua of the Nguyen Dynasty in Hue, Yen Mac’s fermented pork roll draws inspiration from this historical recipe. Unlike other varieties, Yen Mac’s nem chua features small-cut pork buttock, not finely ground. The meat is mixed with garlic, chili, and traditional spices, then wrapped in guava leaves. This process yields a distinctive, rustic flavor, making it a delightful specialty in Ninh Binh.
Xoi Trung Kien (Sticky Rice with Ant’s Eggs)
Many people mistakenly think that dishes made from ant eggs are only available in the northern mountainous areas, but right in Ninh Binh, there is also a specialty dish made from ant eggs called ant egg sticky rice. Ninh Binh ant eggs originate from the Nho Quan limestone mountains. People bring young ant eggs home, wash them, marinate them with spices, and stir-fry them. This dish, combined with sticky rice and dried onions, has an extremely unique and attractive flavor.
Ca Kho Gao (Braised Fish with Gao Fruit)
As one of the best local foods in Ninh Binh, this is an extraordinary dish deeply rooted in the regional flavors. Gao is a plant with fruit found along riverbanks, streams, or in caves, known not only for culinary use but also medicinal properties. The unique preparation involves thinly slicing the Gao fruit, layering it at the bottom of the pot, placing the fish on top, and adding another layer of thinly sliced Gao on the top. The taste varies, sometimes slightly sour or bitter, depending on the Gao fruit’s flavor at different times. This Ninh Binh specialty is a unique culinary experience, captivating your senses with its appealing colors and distinctive Gao fruit tang.
Cua Dong Rang La Lot (Roasted Field Crab with Guise Leaves)
The mere mention of the dish “Cua Dong Rang La Lot” conjures up images of a homely, nostalgic flavor in the hearts of travelers. Field crab is crisply roasted along with guise leaves, creating a dish that, while simple in preparation, leaves a lasting impression on visitors. This Ninh Binh specialty brings forth the allure of its taste and the meaningful connection to the region’s traditional ingredients. Roasted field crab with guise leaves from the ancient land of Hoa Lu evokes the rustic charm of Vietnam’s bygone impoverished countryside.
Bun Cha Quat (Vermicelli Noodles with Pork)
To experience the delectable Bun Cha Quat, you must visit the ancient land of Ninh Binh. This dish leaves a lasting impression with its rich and well-marinated flavors infused into each piece of meat. Notably, the minced pork is pressed onto a metal tray and grilled into a large, eye-catching patty, contrasting the traditional small meatballs of Hanoi-style Bun Cha. The slightly charred edges enhance the visual appeal without compromising juiciness. Served with pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, and sweet-sour fish sauce, it’s a taste sensation you won’t forget!
The diverse and unique selection of the best local foods in Ninh Binh showcases the richness of the local produce. Combined with the skillful culinary techniques of the indigenous people, it truly offers a culinary experience worthy of food enthusiasts. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head to Ninh Binh with Asia Legend Travel to savor these delightful treats!