Integrative Dishes of the Southeast

Thứ năm, 17/11/2016 11:05

Southeastern region has been always a big unknown among other areas in The Golden Spoon contest. Going straight to southern semi-final round, this unknown even attracted more attention.

What are reasons? Southeastern region has focused on industries, services, and it is one of key economic regions. It has no unique or special products but in return, chefs there were the earliest integrative group and they have had the most chances to interact different cultures. Therefore, their culinary styles are so diverse.

Salad of avocado, Thun Mun leave, crabmeat, and salmon eggs, server with vinegar-leaf sauce - Paste of shrimp, Huong snail meat, and pepper leaves in Chay-fruit sauce, served with vegetables.

Cuisine in land of ports

Historically, southeastern area, or briefly “the east”, is the interference among different cultures, such as Cham, Khmer, and partly Highlands.

Deep and salted seashores from Ninh Thuan to Binh Thuan province are advantages to produce and supply high-quality seafood and marine products. In addition are natural bays and ports, which were exploited by the French, through Dong Nai and Ba Ria – Vung Tau provinces, that support international economics and are ready for the formation of national key economic quadrangle.

Because of those characteristics, the eastern cuisine is widely opened. Businessmen have come to trade and also brought their cultural and culinary feature from numerous countries. Gradually, exotic feature has been localized and became parts of this region.

Therefore, Palace Vung Tau team decided to create a diverse menu with all healthy herbal dishes.

Chef Pham Van Dai was about to garnish his final dish.

Their regional yet exotic ingredients attracted all audiences, like Thun Mun leaves, Pagoda flowers (Styphnolobium japonicum), Thi fruits (Diospyros decandra), and bird chili’s tips. The most noticeable dish in the menu was Stewed chicken with deer velvet, nutmeg, papaya seeds, served with steamed rice and lotus seeds in which papaya seed is very familiar but rarely used in cooking. Audiences were so curious when first time seeing deer velvets, which was soaked in ice water before being processed. Recently, farming deer to collect velvets is a common profession in this zone. Velvets are young antlers from mature male deer.

In the end of summer every year, antlers shed and re-grow next spring. Young antlers, which contain lots of blood vessels, are soft and fluffy as a sheet of velvet.

Velvets have (or have not) ramified, called saddle velvets since their shape is like a saddle with one short hand and one longer hand.

Velvets must be immediately processed after collected or they will be rotten. Chemical component analysis shows that velvets contain calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, colloidal, protein, hormones (testosterone, pantocrine), and more than 17 types of amino acid.

Modern Western medicine believes that deer antler can increase muscle strength, help refreshing minds and healing, stimulate eating and sleeping habits, increase gastrointestinal motility but strong doses can cause low blood pressure, palpitation, muscle twitching, convulsion, or blood clot.

In the other hand, Vietnamese traditional medicine has noticed that velvets are so supportive to blood, bones, and sexual ability.

For centuries, traditional Chinese and Japanese healers have used velvets to support the whole human body.

Southern teams going to the final round.

And features of oceans

Once there was a commentator talking on Culture show of CNN about Vietnamese cuisine “Vietnamese coastal line stretches from the North to the South, crossing different climate zones and different soil so that every coastal region has its own tastes of seafood, even some places have unique specialties that we can’t find anywhere else. Very interesting!

In The Golden Spoon 2016 semi-final round, young chefs from the southeast – Sea Links City company – had proved it by its Golden Dish menu.

They carried featured products of the harsh Binh Thuan province, which were coffer fish (Ostraciidae), big sage (Lantana camara), young sponge gourd, and sea-pangolin (abalone-like with a 8-layer scale as a pangolin).

Sea-pangolin was a noticeable ingredient, which was stuffed in wonton and cooked with Kim Cang root and served with crunchy melon. Kim Cang root was to sweeten wonton soup. However, it can be eaten raw with a taste like jicama or mixed with pickled melon to wake the tongue up.

Another remarkable point at The Golden Spoon 2016 semi-final round that international audiences were very interested in was cassava cake. Even though cassava cake is just a casual street food, it came into menus of two teams that won the 1st prize in preliminary.

While Thang Loi 1 Restaurant and Wedding center made an old-fashioned plain cassava cake, Palace Vung Tau created a new taste by stuffing Thi fruit inside cassava cake.

One of my friends who has worked for an international hotel & restaurant management group said, “Vietnamese cassava needs to be appropriately exploited. They are able to live in the harshest soil as coastal sand areas, they do not need to be taken care of, and they are ingredients for great cuisine.

Vietnamese rarely notice that science has proved that cassava flour does not contain gluten, an element causes severe allergy in the US. Therefore, cassava will be potential supply. I appreciate that The Golden Spoon has brought cassava cake onto 5-star party tables.

Properly The Golden Spoon contest could not expect that it has honored such an interesting future food.

By Kien Chinh/TTTG

1  2  3  4  5  ...  Last Page