12 unforgettable tastes of the south

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Kien Giang Province has preserved the essence of Vietnam's southern cuisine, with creative seafood dishes and desserts

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Goi ca trich (sardinella salad)
At first look, it is like Japanese sashimi with thinly cut pieces of a little oily fish known as ca trich in Vietnamese. But it is served with rice papers and raw vegetables, so you can put everything into a big roll before eating with a dipping peanut sauce. The salad gets the most recommendations from travel writers who claim the best version can only be found in Phu Quoc, home of the fish.
Nam tram (bitter bolete mushroom)
Native to Phu Quoc, the famous resort island of Kien Giang, the mushroom is a favorite among islanders who add it to a variety of foods, from porridge to boiled chicken and even deep-fried fish cake. Everyone loves it for its slight bitterness and crunchiness when cooked.
Banh canh ghe cha (tapioca noodle soup with flower crab and fish cake)
By its look, flower crab is deceptively the noodle dish's main ingredient. But, it is mackerel that is the star here. Local sellers add fish heads to cook the soup along with dried shrimps and pork bones. They then make a special fish cake that can be either steamed or deep-fried before being cut into strips. 
Bun ca (rice vermicelli soup with fish)
Bun ca
is popular in many Mekong Delta provinces where locals would make a few changes to the original recipe to give the dish their own signatures. In Kien Giang, people top their dish with shrimps besides pieces of snakehead fish meat. The best-selling bun ca can be found along Ham Nghi and Mac Cuu streets in Rach Gia Town.
Bun ken ("ken" rice vermicelli)
This special rice vermicelli topped with fish flosses can only be found in Ha Tien Town, where it is often sold in the morning only. It tastes milky, as its soup is cooked with fish bones, coconut milk and a five-spice powder. The name "ken" is often used in dishes that has coconut milk.
Com ghe (fried rice with flower crab)
Its recipes may sound plain: rice stir-fried with crab meat and tomato sauce, but its rich flavors will surely make an impression on tourists.
Goi so long hoa chuoi (ark clams and banana blossom salad)
One of the best options for an appetizer when dining in Kien Giang, the salad consists of boiled ark clams, shredded banana blossoms, Vietnamese coriander and pork. The mixed fish sauce tastes sweet yet slightly sour.
Ca xiu
Ca xiu
is a kind of clam that lives in sand and can be found in Ha Tien only. Although it may look intimidating with two long arms, the clam has gained popularity among tourists in recent years. Not only it makes one of the best salads in town -- being salted and then stir-fried with with and Vietnamese coriander, many claim that it is a natural Viagra for men.
Xoi xiem (Thai sticky rice)
Although this Thai-style dessert is popular in Ho Chi Minh City, visitors should not miss it when in Kien Giang, which many foodies claim to have one of the best xoi xiem. Local sellers use sticky rice produced by Thailand and brought in from Cambodia. The rice is topped with egg custard and coconut milk.
Banh ong la dua (pandan roll cake)
Originally invented by Khmer people, the green roll cake is a popular street snack in Ha Tien. It is made from rice flour with the green color coming from pandan leaves. The use of sesame seeds and coconut flakes gives a strong boost to its milkiness.
Banh thot not (suger palm cake)
Another popular snack created by Khmer people, this rice cake's essence comes from toddy palm or sugar palm. Locals make the flour with palm juice and palm flakes which give the cake the yellow color and jackfruit-like fragrance, after it is steamed, wrapped in banana leaves.
Special mention: Nuoc mam (fish sauce)
Visitors to Kien Giang are specifically recommended to check out the salty and strong-flavored sauce which is a key ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. The province is home to a brand of fish sauce that is one of the oldest and the most famous in the country: Nuoc mam Phu Quoc. While it is possible to make the sauce with any fish, people on the famous resort town 40 miles off the coast produce it by fermenting anchovies in one year. Phu Quoc's fish sauce has a much easier smell compared other brands, but it is still rich in protein.
Original Vietnamese story can be found here in VietNamNet

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