In addition to beautiful natural landscapes and numerous historical sites, the local specialties in Thanh Hoa also play a significant role in attracting tourists to the region. Thanh Hoa cuisine is known for its unique and distinctive appearance, making these dishes highly cherished by visitors. Let’s discover the 10 most delicious specialties of Thanh Hoa right away!
Nem Chua (Fermented Sour Pork Sausage)
When it comes to Thanh Hoa cuisine, Nem Chua is the first renowned specialty that comes to mind. Thanks to its unique processing method, Nem Chua always receives the love of tourists. This delightful traditional dish from Thanh Hoa is a harmonious combination of ingredients such as pork skin, raw meat, garlic, chili, and pepper.
The mixture is wrapped in several layers of banana leaves and left to ferment. Once the fermentation process is complete, the contents turn pink and are served with guava leaves and small spicy peppers. When savoring Nem Chua, you will experience a gentle sourness and a delightful crunch that will leave you craving for more.
Mam Tep (Tiny Shrimp Paste)
Mam Tep, or Tiny Shrimp Paste, is a highly regarded specialty in Thanh Hoa that should not be missed by any visitor. This paste has a distinctive flavor that immediately captivates any diner. To make this paste, local residents clean and grind freshly caught tiny shrimp, which are then fermented with toasted rice powder.
After a few months, the result is jars filled with delicious tiny shrimp paste. For an even more enjoyable experience, try relishing the cooked tiny shrimp paste with scallion oil and thinly sliced pork belly, accompanied by steaming hot sticky rice. It is truly a culinary delight!
Che Lam (Sticky Rice Ginger Peanut Bars)
This delightful dessert originated in Phu Quang, now known as Vinh Loc district. It is made by grinding roasted glutinous rice into a fine powder and combining it with peanuts, ginger, and either molasses or sugar. Che Lam has an appealing golden color, a unique sweet aroma, a subtle sweetness, and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. There’s nothing quite like sitting down to savor this traditional sweet treat while enjoying a cup of afternoon tea.
Goi Nhech (Vietnamese Rice Paddy Eel Salad)
This dish is made from Ca Nhech, a type of rice paddy eel found in the countryside of Vietnam. It is loved by many diners for its distinctive and refreshing flavor, which has made it a well-known delicacy in Thanh Hoa. To make this dish, the fresh and delectable eels are carefully cleaned and deboned. The eel meat is then combined with lime juice and roasted glutinous rice. A key element contributing to the unique taste of the dish is the “holy” dipping sauce called Cheo, which is made from ground eel bones.
Moreover, to enhance the flavor, the eel salad is typically served with a variety of leafy vegetables, including red barringtonia leaves, guava leaves, skunkvine leaves, culantro, Thai basil, Polyscias fruticosa leaves, mint, Pluchea indica leaves, Asiatic pennywort, and sliced green bananas. Although the combination of flavors may seem a bit unusual at first, you will quickly appreciate the harmonious blend of textures and tastes, ranging from the crispiness and sweetness of the eel to the richness of the dipping sauce and the aromatic freshness of the leafy greens. Once you try it, you will surely remember this exquisite dish.
Canh La Dang (Green Chiretta Soup)
This traditional soup from the Muong ethnic group is now one of the specialties of Thanh Hoa that any visitor should try when visiting the area. The soup is made from green chiretta, a long herb only found in the Thanh Hoa region. After cleaning the leaves, they are typically cooked with chicken offal, pork offal, or pork. The soup has a distinct bitter taste that may take some getting used to, but once you have a few spoonfuls, you will likely fall in love with its unique flavor.
Nem Nuong (Grilled Sour Pork Sausage)
If Nem Chua is the most famous dish of Thanh Hoa cuisine, Nem Nuong, an upgraded version of Nem Chua, is a delicious delicacy that is sure to delight any food lover. It consists of a large Nem Chua wrapped in multiple layers of banana leaves. After fermenting for a few days to achieve the perfect level of sourness, it is grilled over charcoal and enjoyed. The sour and tangy taste, along with the fragrant aroma of grilled banana leaves, make anyone trying the dish a lasting impression.
Banh Cuon (Steamed Rice Rolls Stuffed with Pork)
The version of Banh Cuon in Thanh Hoa has a special flavor that sets it apart from those in other regions. The rice roll is soft and chewy, and the filling, made with minced pork and wood ear mushrooms, adds a satisfying crunchy texture. It is made even better with crispy fried shallots on top. When you have it with the special dipping sauce made from fish sauce, vinegar, and sugar, it creates a delightful combination of flavors. Travelers can easily try this traditional dish by visiting any local market in the area at an affordable price.
Banh Gai Tu Tru (Tu Tru Thorn Leaf Cake)
Tu Tru Thorn Leaf Cake is one of the delightful specialties of Thanh Hoa that is widely known among locals and visitors as well. This cake features a chewy crust, a smooth and sweet mung bean filling, and a delightful aroma of banana leaves. When you take a bite, the flavor of the cake is perfectly balanced, not overly sweet. Travelers can easily find this cake at specialty shops or markets in Thanh Hoa, making it a wonderful gift to bring back after their visit.
Banh Rang Bua (Rice Cake Filled with Brown Onion)
This dish is a traditional specialty from Thanh Hoa, which was once a royal delicacy. True to its name, the cake is shaped like a common agricultural tool found in the countryside of the region. It is made by using rice flour and filling it with pork belly, wood ear mushrooms, and black pepper. When eaten, the cake has a soft and tender texture, complemented by the savory filling, resulting in a unique harmony of flavors.
Banh Da (Vietnamese Sesame Dry Pancake)
Sesame Dry Pancake in Thanh Hoa is a delicious snack made from ground rice flour with a layer of black sesame on the outside. It is not only enjoyed as a snack but also as a side dish alongside various dishes, such as stir-fried clams. The pancake is grilled on a charcoal stove to achieve a crispy texture. When combined with the tender and sweet clam meat, it creates a delightful and unforgettable dish for those trying it for the first time.
Hopefully, with the list of the top 10 delicious dishes in Thanh Hoa above, you will have an absolutely delightful and unforgettable culinary adventure in this remarkable region. So, pack your bags and get ready for a trip to Thanh Hoa now!