Specialties of Halong Bay You Should Never Miss
Halong bay has gain many advantages of the sea including the marine life. For many generations of fishermen, they had discovered many creatures and processed them into various dishes with distinctive tastes and so the food culture of Halong bay was formed along with the very first human on Halong Bay
Once you traveled to Halong Bay, you’re enchanted and forgotten everything else, with a traveler from long distance, you shouldn’t desert your rumbling stomach. Although the fact that Halong Bay isn’t the kingdom of food like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City but what you spend the least expectation may surprising you the most, this statement isn’t as hollow as you think since Halong has many unique marine animals in Vietnam, for instance: three-spined stickleback, razor shells (or finger snail in Vietnamese), peanut worms and many dishes with amazingly combinations.
As mentioned above, you cannot leave Halong Bay without tasting peanut worms at least once. This marine creature had such high value that people in Halong chose this worm to present the emperor, up to this day, 1 kilogram of peanut worms can be traded with 1 ounce of gold. The common savor for every dishes that made with peanut worms leave a tasteful bite on your tongue, one more thing that beware you’ll get addicted to it since the dried peanut worms especially those seasoned with lemonade get sweeter and sweeter everytime you bite.
Many dishes for peanut worms can be cooked in both dried or fresh state, but it has to be processed carefully in order to remove the sands, here are some suggestions for peanut worms : frying will make it like “swollen stick”, grilling with butter spread and dips in spicy sauce.
Nodding rolls (Banh Gat Gu)
Basically, nodding roll is the specialty of Quang Ninh province, not only Halong Bay. The main ingredient of Nodding rolls is rice powder and pig meat with lean and fat mixed, the secret that makes this dish taste great is the unique sauce, just like numerous dishes of Vietnam that each of them has one special tiny bowl contained magically taste solutions. With nodding roll’s sauce, it was made with chicken fat, garlic, deep-fried onion, chopped or salted shredded meat.
The most delicious variant of Nodding Rolls is Khâu Nhục which was made with three-lined pork (meat with skin, lean and fat), sweet taro and soaked in soy sauce.
This creature was dated in 450 million years ago, with its fearful shells many people often mistake them aggressive but the truth is these crabs are pretty easy to catch and not poisoned at all. Underneath the shells, horseshoe crab’s meat is surprisingly delicious and sweet with grilled or sweet-and-sour fry.
With the grilled dish, the cook will season the crab with peanut, spices and onion. The main part to enjoy this dish is yellow eggs which give you soft to bite and elastic to chew experience, nutty favor. One note this type of dish can be only try in its mating season which conveniently in the summer.
The second is the fried dish with sweet and sour taste. How to process and filter out the meat in Horseshoe crab’s legs are pretty time consuming since its spiky and hardened shell, so be sure to order some dishes first before you try this, but the reward for patience is worthy with the sweet, sour, spicy taste and soft meat.
Crabs, Fishes and Squids
Take a tour at the markets around Halong Bay and you will see the freshest sea animals that are still jumping off the baskets.
Squids are everywhere, in the markets, the restaurants and on the cruises. You can enjoy various squid dishes while in Halong Bay restaurants, or catching alive while on the cruises. The locals have invented many way to cook with squids such as: boiled, grill, fry, desiccated and the most famous - squid meat pie which every Vietnamese know Halong Bay is the place it comes from by hearing the food’s name.
Crabs in Halong isn’t as famous as squid but you can see large amount of crabs in the markets, many of them are Cù Kì with larger size and round shells compare to ordinary crabs in coastal areas of Vietnam. There‘s a folk tale about Cu Ki that when this crab clawed to somebody, it will never release its grab unless a thunder strikes, but don’t worry much since the fishermen have tighten the crabs up. In most of Halong Bay restaurants, Cu Ki is boiled or grilled, the meat in the crab especially in the claws is soft, dry and sweet.
It’s a huge mistake if fishes aren’t in the list, while you are relaxing on the beaches you can see some fishes swim under the clear water. Three-spined stickleback grilled or pot-au-feu in Halong Bay is good choice to taste the very best meat of this fish. Another is lizardfish meat pie which was chopped fine including bones, crunchy and flavorful are some feeling you realize with this dish.