Mai Chau valley is blessed with fertile soil and rich flora and fauna. This is a great source of ingredients for the daily meal of the White Thai ethnic group, who have lived long in Mai Chau. Thai people are a very skillful and hardworking people, so the dishes here are the quintessence of the Mountainous Vietnam. Let's try the 10 best dishes in Mai Chau below:
1. Sticky rice
Among the best ingredients in Mai Chau valley, rice must be first mentioned. Mai Chau valley is like a basin with relatively fertile soil. Combined with Thai farming techniques and the famous delicious sesame rice variety, delicious Mai Chau rice is famous in the Northwest and goes into poetry with "the land of fragrant sticky rice".
Reference dishes: grill rice in bamboo tube, five-color sticky rice.
2. Mountain snail
Another dish you must try is mountain snails. This is a type of snail that lives in streams and only appears in the summer. Mai Chau has many small streams, which are inhabited by mountain snails with very crispy meat. This snail only eats forest leaves and is slightly larger than the yellow apple snail. You definitely have to try this snail when you come to Mai Chau.
Reference dish: Steamed mountain snails
3. Stream fish
The streams in Mai Chau are also home to the best fishes. The small stream fish will be deep fried to serve with rice in diners.
Reference dish: Grilled fish in bamboo tube
4. River fish
In addition to the streams, the Black River is also a great source of delicious fish for Thai people of Mai Chau. Black River fish are usually in large size and used in big family dinner or holiday meal. These fishes will be steamed in forest leaves or grilled in banana leaves to make a excellent taste.
Reference dish: Black River fish cooked with fresh bamboo shoots
5. Hill chicken
Referring to Mai Chau, no one can ignore this famous grilled chicken on char coal. The small breed of chickens is raised by Mai Chau people in traditional method. Chickens are allowed to run around on hill to have strong muscles. Don’t forget to order a plate of boiled chicken with lemon leaves in Mai Chau.
Reference dishes: Chicken mushroom soup with lotus seeds, Grilled chicken with honey, Steamed chicken, Chicken with lotus seed & mushroom soup, Chicken salad with herbs.
Countryside pig is a small breed of pig raised freely in Thai villages with thick skin and extremely good meat. Pigs have a weight of only 10-15 kg and are usually cooked by roasting.
References: Grilled pork with pomelo leaves, Steamed pork with wild pepper, Grilled pork with Honey, Grilled pork.
7. Buffalo meat
Buffalo is not an animal raised for the purpose of slaughter, but you can still enjoy buffalo meat cooked with leaves. This type of leaf has a sour taste, has the effect of deodorizing the fishy smell in buffalo meat.
8. Grilled meat roll in pomelo leaf
In Hoa Binh, mentioning pomelo is referring to the specialty dish of the Muong people. This is grilled meat roll in pomelo leaf. This is really a special dish of Mai Chau with strange bitter taste and sweetness of grilled meat that you can’t find in any place else. You definitely have to try it once.
9. Sour marinated meat
Sour marinated meat is a very unique specialty of Mai Chau Hoa Binh. The dish is quite similar to a kind a meat roll but it is not made from pork but buffalo and cow meat. Because it's made of beef, this plate is not very easy to find in Mai Chau.
10. Stir-fried bee pupae with bamboo shoots
Two specialties of Mai Chau are wild bees and sour bamboo shoots that can be cooked into an extremely delicious fried dish. This is a dish only available in the summer. If you want to enjoy, you should travel to Mai Chau at the end of july. After the hive is brought back from the forest, the old bees are taken to soak in wine, and the young bees are selected to stir-fry with bamboo shoots.
11. Good restaurant in Mai Chau
This is the menu of Orchid Restaurant in Mai Chau Ecolodge:
Banana flower salad with pig ears
Grilled pork with pomelo leaves
Black river fish cooked with fresh bamboo shoots
Steamed pork - dotted with seeds
Grilled fish in bamboo tube
Sour bamboo shoots soup with hill chicken
Mai Chau style grilled pork
Grilled Chicken/Pork with Honey
Pork ear & bamboo shoot salad
Grilled sticky rice