Thai unique culinary culture wins favours of visitors to Điện Biên


340226 4809440175578526 image | FDI Việt Nam
A feast with various grilled dishes is beautifully presented by Thai women.

Theo Vietnamnews


Bình Nguyên

ĐIỆN BIÊN  The culinary culture in the northern mountain province of Điện Biên has the typical  flavours of ethnic minorities living in the northwestern mountain and forest region, particularly the Thái people.

The unique cuisine of Thai people is always chosen most by visitors whenever they come to Điện Biên to experience the culture of local indigenous ethnic groups there. It is famous for its grilled dishes that are meticulously prepared and marinated, with their own flavours that cannot be mixed with any other ethnic dish or cooking method.

These days, restaurants that specialises in serving ethnic food, and cultural tourism villages around Điện Biên Phủ City and Điện Biên District are always crowded with diners.

The main dishes in a Thai feast are grills, salads and soups. Meat of livestock, poultry or seafood all can be grilled and marinated. There are different ways to marinate the meat depending on its  type but some of the most commonly used spices including chili, garlic and mắc khén – a special spice originating from the northwestern region of Việt Nam, that is quite close to pepper with mild spicy taste and intense aroma. 

Phiêng Lơi cultural village in Điện Biên Phủ City these days welcomes crowds of visitors who booked to stay and enjoy local meals there.

Lò Thị Xuyến, the owner of Kim Xuyến restaurant in the village, said: “Since the beginning of March, the restaurant has received so many customers mainly from outside the province. As they come from far away, they are very excited to enjoy traditional ethnic dishes here. Their most favourite orders include the popular grilled dishes of chicken, fish, pork, buffalo, beef and eel.

Thai people often prepare grilled pork wrapped in banana leaves. The pork meat is cut in slices or minced carefully, and marinated with spices then grilled over charcoal. Before, the pork used to be wrapped in a large square shape and put on a plate to serve for each meal but now, to make it more convenient and easy for visitors to enjoy, it is divided into small and moderate pieces only about 12cm long.

To prepare grilled dish, the cook should choose fresh meat, usually the best part of the animal such as the rump. After preliminary processing, the meat will be chopped and mixed with green onions, coriander, and MSG.

It is especially important to marinate the meat with fish sauce to enhance the aroma. The banana leaves should be wiped clean, then heated over a fire to wilt and cut into square pieces for easy wrapping. The marinated meat should not be left too long for it to become watery. After about 15 minutes, the meat will be soaked in spices and divided into portions for packaging. Each package only has about three small spoons of meat placed in the middle of the banana leaf and then tightly folded on two edges so that when being grilled, the meat still retains its sweet and hot flavour. About 30 minutes before mealtime, the meat is put on a wood stove to grill. The charcoal should be heated moderately so that the meat can be cooked gradually, without drying out or losing its sweet flavour.

When speaking about Thai ethnic cuisine, nộm hoa ban (Bauhinia flower salad) should be mentioned. This is an indispensable dish in the traditional Thai feast, especially every March and April – when the flowers are in full bloom. Bauhinia flower salad is combined with vegetables from the forest such as Erythropalum scandens and bitter bamboo shoots. After boiling thoroughly to reduce the acrid taste, the flowers will be squeezed out and then mixed with boiled beef and bitter bamboo shoots. The spices mixed into the flower salad are not complicated, and are especially not sour like other salads. Usually, there are only galangal, garlic, chili, coriander and MSG.

The soup dishes in the traditional Thai feast are also very diverse. In addition to bon soup and eggplant soup, buffalo foot soup cooked with some sour leaves is very easy to eat. The buffalo foot, after cleaning and deodorising, will be burned on charcoal, chopped into small pieces and then put into a pot to boil. When it’s almost done, the cook will add the sour leaves and boil them together.

The rusticity has created a unique feature for the culinary culture of Thai people in Điện Biên. Delicious dishes help visitors from far away better feel the flavours of the mountains and forests.

If you have the opportunity to go to the Northwest, come to Điện Biên to enjoy Thai ethnic cuisine.

Theo Vietnamnews