The Thai ethnic group in Vietnam are extremely skillful, talented and interesting people. They are not only famous for their agricultural skills, brocade weaving or unique poetry, Thai people in the kitchen are also true cook. The Thai dishes in Northwest Vietnam are very delicious and quite different from Thailandese cusiine . Here are the main characteristics of Thai cuisine in Vietnam:
Vietnamese Thai people settle mainly in the Northwest mountainous provinces such as Son La, Dien Bien, Hoa Binh, Nghe An. But unlike the H'Mong who live in high mountains, Thai people choose low valleys where there is abundant water and fertile land for farming. The Thai people are also highly educated agricultural residents like the Viet or the Khmer people.
In the past, the main food source in daily meals and on holidays of the Thai people was usually wild meat, river fish and vegetables, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, etc., which were hunted and gathered in the wild. Along the big rivers such as Luong river, Lo river, Am river... Thai people often catch fish for food.
Today, when forest resources are exploited a lot, rivers and streams are also affected by environmental pollution or hydroelectric dams, Thai people mainly use the food supply through cultivation and animal husbandry.
In short, the ingredients for Thai dishes are a combination of agricultural products and natural plants. Wild animal meat is sometimes included but is discouraged due to the wildlife protection policy of the Government of Vietnam.
2. How to prepare
Unlike the Thai people in Thailand or Laos, Vietnamese Thai recipe is generally less influenced by Indian cuisine due to few trade relations. Vietnamese Thai ethnic cuisine is considered to be original and influenced more or less by Viet or Chinese people, but it is not clear.
When cooking, Thai people rarely use cooking oil. Instead, Thai people prefer the grill method when preparing food. All types of meat, poultry, or seafood can be grilled. Sliced meat, marinated with spices, using skewers or fresh bamboo clamps placed on embers; or minced meat, pureed with eggs, wrapped in banana leaves, dong leaves, clamped, grilled over red coals or buried in hot ash. When cooked, the meat is very fragrant, very easy to eat.
The Thai people prefer the rich, nutritious flavor of grilled dishes. The dish of buffalo or beef, grilled fish and chicken is sophisticatedly marinated and seasoned by Thai people. The seasoning for marinating is "mac khen" (a type of wild pepper), chili, garlic, ginger, salt... Before being marinated with meat, the spices are also baked until cooked, giving off a fragrant aroma.
Unlike the Viet people who prefer a dish with a balance between sweet and sour, Thai people like to push the flavor of spices to a high level, stimulating the taste buds to the maximum. The color of the dish is also very colorful, but still has the characteristics of the mountains and forests, not as fussy about trimming as Hue or Hanoi cuisine.
3. The main dishes of Vietnamese Thai people
Due to its proximity to an abundant source of aquatic products such as the Black River and tributary rivers and streams, river fish and stream fish are the main food of the Thai people. Fish is made into many different dishes: steamed fish in a wooden pot, Pa ping top: grilled stream fish. These are the precious dishes, much appreciated by gourmet.
3.2. Sticky rice
Sticky rice is a traditional dish of the Thai people. Thai people have a very skillful method of making water-proof sticky rice with wooden sticks. Steamed sticky rice, soft, flexible but not sticky. Sticky rice is stored in a pressure cooker or a covered rice basket, warmed, keeping the rice flexible for a long time. In addition, Thai people also make grilled rice in bamboo tubes and five-color sticky rice to eat during festivals.
3.3. Sour bamboo shoots
If the Kinh people have pickles, the Thai people have sour bamboo shoots to reduce the nausea when eating grilled food. Their way of preparing bamboo shoots is also very special and sophisticated. To get a bowl of sour bamboo shoots juice, they soak bamboo shoots for a few years to filter out the most delicious and sour taste when. Sour bamboo shoots are eaten with other dishes to reduce fat.
3.4. Dipping sauce
Cham cheo, a type a dipping sauce is made from chili, garlic, salt and wild pepper. In order to have a delicious bowl of dipping sauce, chili must be grilled until crispy, fragrant and become very spicy, mixed with garlic, salt and wild pepper to bring out the smell. Garlic to make dipping sauce must also be wild garlic with the special aroma, other types of garlic can hardly make the original flavor. After mixing 4 types of ingredients together, they will be pounded. From this basic recipe, people make many other types of this sauce for each dish.
The homemade wine is made from leaves, bark, and roots of medicinal plants brewed with glutinous rice, glutinous rice. To have a good wine, not only requires aging time, but depending on secrets in choosing leaves and brewing so that the wine has unique aroma, spiciness, sweetness.
To avoid dependence on fish or wild game meat, Thai people also raise buffaloes, cows, pigs, chickens and ducks to enrich their food supply. Thai people still keep traditional farming methods such as raise chicken on hill, free-range pigs. These old breeds of chickens and pigs make low yield but good meat quality. River fish also grilled or cooked with herbs to reduce the fishy taste and turn up the irresistible rich taste.