7 delicious Mekong Delta dishes that you should try

by Lam Pham

Mekong Delta food is an integral part of our lives. The way we eat also says a lot about our culture. It is said that the best way to learn about a particular culture is to discover their cuisine. For a special place like the Mekong Delta, tasting the local cuisine is the perfect way to explore the Mekong Delta and make you feel like a local. In the article, Karst Plateau will introduce to you the 7 best dishes in the Mekong Delta:


1. Bun Mam (fermented fish noodle soup)

The smell of vermicelli fish sauce is quite strong and fragrant

Bun Mam is a robust delta soup originating from Cambodia. Nonetheless, instead of being cooked with Khmer prahok sauce (crushed, salted fermented mudfish sauce), Mekong Delta’ Bun Mam is cooked with sauce made from mustached danio or snakeskin gourami. That is why the aroma is not as strong as the original version and easier to eat. A bowl of noodle soup contains rice vermicelli topped with a couple of chunks of crispy pork, some slices of squid, raw veggies, a juicy prawn, white thick noodles, and herbs, and covered in the pungent Mekong fish sauce to serve the gourmets. Fishy, pungent, sweet, dark, sour, vibrant, crunchy, and silky, this soup challenges your taste buds.

2. Ca Tai Tuong (Fried Elephant Ear Fish)

The most popular dish in the Mekong Delta

These fish are very popular in the Mekong Delta. Elephant ear fishes have a thin and wide body with a grey color, just like the shape of an elephant ear. To make the dish taste perfectly, the fish must be fresh then deep fry in hot boiling oil. Then we will have the fried fish with crispy golden skin that smells wonderful.
The fish will be served with vermicelli, vegetables, herbs, rice paper for wrapping, and a bowl of dipping sauce. You can taste the crisp skin and tender meat of the fish. Combine with vegetables, herbs, vermicelli, and fish sauce, it will be a bite of everything. That’s how local people enjoy this dish.

3. Bun Nuoc Leo (Rice Noodle Cooked with Fish Broth)

This is a specialty of the Khmer ethnic people in Tra Vinh

Bun Nuoc Leo is one of the specialties of Tra Vinh province. This is a Khmer noodle dish cooked from beef sauce and many other fish, served with all kinds of raw vegetables and fried spring rolls, roast pork. This dish is served with banana corn, split spinach, herbs, and shredded water lilies. Those who first enjoy noodle soup in Tra Vinh, will surely never forget the unforgettable taste of this dish.

4. Banh Bo Thot Not (Palm sugar honeycomb cake)

This cake has a natural yellow color, sweet and fatty taste of coconut milk and fragrant aroma

Honeycomb cake, also known as “banh bo” in Vietnam, is a sweet treat popular in Vietnam’s southwestern area. It is commonly used in celebrations of ancestry and other familial events. Rice flour, coconut milk, oil, sugar, and yeast or bread starter are the main ingredients in a traditional Vietnamese honeycomb cake. This combination of ingredients was curated to produce a cake with the ideal balance of softness, chewiness, and sweetness.
It’s unlike any other cake because of the unique patterns inside the crumb, which give the cake a light and bouncy quality—honeycomb cake flavored with pandan essence. In addition, it also provides the cake with an aromatic quality that is both floral and herbal. It’s delicious on its own or with a hot beverage like tea or coffee.

5. Banh Khot (Khot Cake)

This is a popular dish in Southern Vietnam

Khot Cake is another pancake of Vietnamese people. Different from Xeo Cake above, the size of Khot Cake is much smaller. On the top of Khọt Cake, the locals in the Mekong Delta add many kinds of toppings from shrimp, and squid to green onion or eggs. They use rice flour, coconut water, eggs, mung beans, shrimp, herbs, vegetables, and many small ingredients like; pepper, salt, etc. to make this food in the Mekong Delta.

With a good chef, Khot Cake can be more special with a layer of coconut milk right on the top of this cake. But this coconut milk is not that sweet like you are thinking, it will have a salty taste and make it more perfect.

6. Canh Chua (Sour soup)

This is the most popular soups in the Mekong Delta.

Sour soup is the most popular soup in the Mekong Delta. Many people love this dish because of its contrasting flavors of sour, sweet, and salty. It combines all the wonderful richness of this region, incorporating seafood (such as catfish, snake-head fish, eel, shrimp, and many others) along with a colorful mix of tamarind, pineapple, tomato, okra, beans, sprouts, and a variety of herbs such as cilantro lemon. Enjoy sour soup with some steamed jasmine rice as part of a traditional Vietnamese meal or alone with rice noodles. Due to its nutritional value, health benefits, and short cooking time, sour soup is known as a quintessential meal for Vietnamese people.

7. Banana Flower Sald

This dish is loaded with many essential vitamins and the sour and sweet taste of lemon and jaggery

Banana flower salad is an authentic Mekong Delta dish. Today, this dish is considered a specialty in Vietnam cuisine. This crunchy banana flower salad is made from banana flowers and then tossed in tamarind and peanuts. This dish is loaded with many essential vitamins and the sour and sweet taste of lemon and jaggery.

Besides, canola oil also makes a great addition to this dish thanks to its neutral taste and light texture. This dish is not only extraordinary to look at, but it is also incredibly flavorful. Just enjoy every bite to enjoy the crispiness of banana flower and pig ears, the subtle flavor of herbs, the chewy taste of chicken, the harmony of the salad dressing, and the nutty flavor of crushed roasted peanuts. Actually, this dish is worth trying.

Travel is about exploring, this is true for every country and region you visit. A trip to the Mekong Delta to try the local cuisine is a great idea when you come to Vietnam. The unique lifestyle and friendliness of the warm locals will bring you unforgettable memories. Above are 7 delicacies of the Mekong Delta that Karst Plateau would like to introduce to you. In addition to enjoying food, exploring the floating market is also an interesting experience that you should also try.



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