Ha Giang Cuisine - The Unique Dishes That Can See Nowhere

Ha Giang is not only famous for its gorgeous landscapes, typical habits and customs, but also for its food specialties. Food which is made natural ingredients with a distinctive cooking method is without doubt the thing that enthralls tourists most in Ha Giang. Let find out the Ha Giang cuision.

1. Steamed egg rolls (Trứng cuộn)

Ha Giang is a mountainous area in the Northwest of Vietnam that has extremely cold climate. This is why the local people prefer to eat hot food and Steamed egg rolls is one of them. As its name refers, this dish is made from egg which is well steamed and rolled up. Steamed egg roll is also eaten with the pork bone based sauce which suprisingly enhances the flavor of this Ha Giang cuision.

You just have to pick up a piece of thin egg roll that looms the red of soft-boiled inside with chopsticks and dip it into the dipping sauce to enjoy.

2. Au Tau rice gruel (Cháo ấu tẩu)

Au Tau rice gruel - a famous Ha Giang cuision, will irrefutably change your normal standard of rice gruel.

In a winter night, a bowl of Au Tau rice gruel is an amazing treat for all people. Au Tau is the combination of the delicate sticky rice, buttery taste of caltrops stewed with broth and fragrance of fennel with a hint of port based broth. Don't shy away from the combinations that sound unique or different, it's a sweet secret that you will not disappoint when exploring.

You can easily find a food vendor with sign selling Au tau gruel rice or Cháo Ấu Tẩu. The food is mostly served at night with a reasonable price.

3. Thang Co (Thắng Cố)

The aroma of cardamom seeds and lemongrass, mingled with the flavor of grilled pork will make any tourist fall in love with this dish. Thang co is sold in many food vendors in the Dong Van market at a cheap and cheerful price. The food is absolutely unreal as it's only served in Ha Giang with a unique taste. Thang Co usually served on a long wooden table with salt and red hot pepper and people here like to sit on their heels and hang out with their friends.

The local people usually have Thang Co with Khen wine. It's such a traditional Ha Giang cuision which is a different mark in this highland area.

4. Bac Me bamboo sticky rice (Cơm lam Bắc Mẻ)

Bac Me is another kind of sticky rice in Ha Giang cuision. Bamboo sticky rice has a simple recipe with the ingredients of well soaked sticky rice, ground water, bamboo sections and banana leaves. They mix sticky rice with salt then put this mixture into bamboo section together with water. They cover the mouth of bamboo by dried banana leaves then grill these bamboo packs directly on charcoal for one hour. While grilling, you need to turn around the bamboo packs and make sure they are well-cooked.

To eat that dish, you need to peel away the bamboo cover to take the fragrant sticky rice inside. In the past, the food is only for women after childbirth as bamboo sticky rice is believed to prevent people from aluminium or pig-iron of pots. Currently, it's widely eaten by all people, especially well-liked by tourists.

5. Grilled alga

To many people, alga seems to be a normal underwater plant without any function. However, to Tay ethnic people, this plant is the main ingredient of one of their well knwon specialties.

The dish made from alga names Que. This food has a high nutritious level for our health. Big algas are usually chosen to cook as it offers the better taste and value. After collecting alga, local people bring it home and carefully make it free of sliminess and dust. Then, they will cook the alga in different ways.

Though it’s easy to find alga here, there is not much good alga to eat and you should eat alga in right seasons. Alga can be cooked in different manners as stir-fried alga, dried alga or grilled alga. You can only see this in Ha Giang cuision.

Tay people usually say ”Quẹ chí áp, táp chí hơ”, this sentence means if you want to grill alga, you will have to press it against charcoal so that alga can be well cooked without fresh liquid dropping down. You needn't turn alga regularlly but you have to grill in turn from one side of alga to another. You can check out whether alga is well cooked or not by touching it and feel its softness. Because algo only provides a good taste in the right season, the locals also dry it under the sun and stove it up on smoking shelf.

6. Five-color sticky rice (Xôi ngũ sắc)

People who live in Northern mountain area have an extremely diverse and unique cuisine. In particularly, five-color sticky rice which converges not only the traditional values but also the meaning concept of the universe, Ying and Yang philosophy and the lofty and beautiful meaning of human livelihood.

This dish is made from rice that has 5 different colors; red, yellow, green,purple and white. It's an absolutely perfect architectural masterpiece of sticky rice that you can hardly see in other lands. It can be seen as a mark of Ha Giang cuision.

You can see this dish at every market in Ha Giang.

There is only on erecipe to make this dish but the color can be changed depending on different areas. The main ingredient is the sticky rice. 5 colors are made from other natural components as followed red color is made from Gac, green from tree leaves, yellow ifrom tumeric and purple from Sau leaves. Before dying rice, they soak rice into water for 6-8 hours and divide the mixture into 5 parts; each part is covered with one color. After dying rice, the cook steam 5 parts of rice into 5 different pots. The food is served in a flower shape or in small tower with different color of layers.

7. Thang Den (Thắng Dền)

It is a great experience to enjoy a bowl of Thang Den in Ha Giang cuision. Thang Den looks like the dish of floating cake in Hanoi or Cong cake in Lang Son. It is made of sticky rice flour with the filling peas. Flour will be kneaded into sphere shapes and boiled in a hot pot of water. When you see it float on the water surface that means it is well cooked and it's time to take them out of pot. The dish is coated with a sprinkling of sugar with an extra sweet kick of coconut milk.Toppings combime with sesame and peanuts.

8. Bac Quang orange (Cam bắc quang)

For years, thick-skined orange has become a most famous specialty of Bac Quang and the second famous specialty is tea. Thanks to the fertile land and climatic conditions that nowhere else has, orange here has a typical and sweet flavor that is a symbol of southern mountainous area of Ha Giang.

9. Chinese sausage (Lạp Xưởng)

Lean and fat pork are main ingredients of chinese sausage. These ingredients are cooked with pepper, honey, sugar and white wine to create a memorable flavor for every foodies from the first taste. To make a hand-to-mouth sausage, you need to focus on the time of soaking meat and the heating level of fire.

The materials using to dry the meat and sausage are not easy to find. They must be flower coal, sugar-cane dregs, rice husk, fresh cinnamon leaves. If you use coal, the coal must be made of cinnamon tree-trunk and even better it must be fresh. According to the experts, because of higher gain, many people use beehive coal which is harmful for our health. Many kinds of wood contain toxic that is not safe to use to smoke; it might cause stomachache in some cases. Therefore, to keep us in safe, the cook must use flower coal or the coal made of cinnamon tree-trunks to smoke meat. Get this original Ha Giang cuision dish, tourist will never forget.

10. Tam Giac Mach (Buckwheat) Cake

The cake is made from tam giac mach grains dried and ground into flour. Many people have not ever thought about the use of this grain kind, but the cake from it is actually amazing to try. You will see the cake is shaped in rounds and grilled on the light fire. Its smell will attract anyone around. It is quite cheap to savor one when you are traveling to Ha Giang; it just costs about VND10,000. The cake is the most scrumptious as it is still hot, remember.

11. Bufelo Jerky

Dried buffalo is special food in the meals of Black Thai. This meat is usually made from muscle of buffaloes and cows freely on the northwest mountains. When making it, people cut meat into pieces with the grain then smoked by charcoal from the mountains. With the dried buffalo, the flavor of smoke is almost intact. The processing techniques are traditional secret but products are quite homogeneous. People use some spices such as pepper, ginger, especially “mac khen”- a type of forest pepper of Northwest upland ethnic minorities.

You can contemplate the spices in each meat. Dried meat still retains the flavor characteristics, especially, the sweetness of the meat. When people often shred with the grain, it can eat immediately or use with corn wine. This dish is made completely natural, so it can reserve about 1 month. In Ha Giang cuision, this food is same kind with smoky Chinese sausage.

12. Ha Giang’s Black Pork

Another amazing choice in the list of the must-try food in Ha Giang is Lon Cap Nach (it can be translated pigs “carried under arm”). The name stems from the habit of the local people carrying bought pigs under their arm home from the market. It is just a general name for the pigs; the locals will use the pigs for many different dishes, such as roasted pork, grilled pork, fried or steamed pork.

The most special thing is that the food will be savored with a fantastic sauce almost suitable for it. It surely deserves a try in Ha Giang cuision.

13. Shan Tuyet tea

Ha Giang is one of the provinces has the oldest Shan tea area in the country. From the early 20th century, the French investigates tea in Ha Giang and take attention to the ancient highland tea. It is Shan tea with big leaves, many snow-white hair covered buds and have good quality. So that people called Shan tuyet.

In the natural forests of Ha Giang, Shan Tuyet tea grown mixed with other forest trees. In Ha Giang, Shan Tuyet tea located throughout most of the districts in which the ancient tea areas have 300-1000meters height. So far, some areas of province has highly specific for the an ecological tea such as: Lung Phin, Phin Ho, Tham Ve, Bo Duot,… that represents the oldest tea area of Vietnam. This is the local that produces the famous Shan Tuyet tea. The reputation of Shan Tuyet tea conquered not only the consumers but also the connoisseurs in enjoying tea.

The Shan Tuyet tea in Ha Giang can be divided into two main types, there are: small Shan tea leaves, tea in Lung Phin with typical characteristics as raspberry or candle shape. Raspberry shape tea has a small leaf tea is less than candle shape tea. In addition to the perennial tea, Ha Giang still grows tea in the lowland.