Unique cuisines of Vietnam’s Central Highlands

Published:  02:24 Thursday - May 02, 2013

Unique cuisines of Vietnam’s Central Highlands

The Central Highlands is the majestic highland with vast mountains and forests. It is also famous for delicious cuisines with special flavors.<br>

Ruou can (tube wine)

Ruou can is a fermented rice wine produced in in mountainous areas like the Central Highlands or the Northwestern region. It is made of cooked glutinous rice mixed with several kinds of herbs (including leaves and roots) in the local forests. 

The types and amount of herbs added differs according to ethnic group and region. This mixture is then put into a large earthenware jug, covered, and allowed to ferment for at least one month. Ruou can’s strength is typically 15 to 25 percent alcohol by volume.

Ruou can is consumed by placing long, slender cane tubes in the jar, through which the wine is drunk. Often two or more people (and sometimes up to ten or more) will drink together from the same jug communally, each using a separate tube.

Ruou can is typically drunk for special occasions such as festivals, weddings, or harvest feasts. It is often drunk by a fire or in a nha rong, or community house. People always dance and play gong after drinking. When a guest is invited to drink ruou can by the local people, it means that this he/she is seen as distinguished guest.

In any event, any festival, cell Highlands are also rituals drinking wine. Alcohol, as they believe, is due to Heaven (Yang) false gods came to earth to teach humans how to do all sorts of wine: rice, wheat, corn to sorghum, millet ... to the supreme sacrifice year.

Com lam (rice in bamboo tube)

Com lam is a rice dish found in the Central Highlands. It originated when mountain people would prepare for long journeys by pressing wet rice (com) with added salt, into bamboo tubes, and cooking. 

Today, it is rice, often glutinous rice, cooked in a tube of bamboo, served with salted roasted sesame, grilled pork or chicken skewers. 

The bamboo chosen should be fresh and young so that the new membrane inside the tube can wrap the rice, adding it a special flavor, fragrance and sweetness. To prepare the rice, first fill the tube with about 80 percent of rice and 10 percent of water, in favor of water inherent in bamboo, then adding a little coconut water to make the rice more pleasant; wrap the tube with banana leaves and then burn it on fire until it smells pleasant.

When it is done, the singed skin of the bamboo is removed, leaving a thin cover that is also peeled away when you eat. Sniffing the blending fragrance of fresh bamboo, banana leave, and sticky rice as well as experiencing the sweet flavor of rice, bamboo, and coconut, and the greasy saltiness of sesame, or the great taste of grilled wild boar are certain to induce guests to fall in love with “com lam”. 

A tube of “com lam” plus fragrant grilled wild boar taken with a sip of ruou can is enough for you fall in line with nature and people here.

Goi la (leaves with pork, shrimp, pork skin and roast glutinous rice powder)

Some kinds of leaves or herbs are rolled into the shape of a funnel. Pork, shrimp, pork skin slices are mixed with roast glutinous rice powder and put into the leaf funnels. This is called goi la. 

Goi la is served with the sauce which is made from brewer’s grains, which is fried with cooking oil, dug eggs. Pepper, salt, chilli, onions ... are the indispensable spices. 

Eating all of these things at the same time -- chewing them thoroughly to recognize the many different flavors of herbs and the delicious tastes of pork and shrimp.

Bamboo shoot

In the rainy season, along the roads in the Central Highlands are a lot of bamboo shoot markets. In these markets, there is only one product – bamboo shoot. The sellers are ethnic minority people like Ba Na, Gia Rai, Xe Dang, etc.

Bamboo shoots can be processed into a lot of cuisines, such as boiled bamboo shoot served with sesame and salt, bamboo shoot fried with beef or pork, bamboo shoot soup, etc.

Deer meat

This is a specialty of the Central Highlands, mainly in Dak Lak province. There are a lot of cuisines processed from deer meat but the most popular is dried meat.

Grilled chicken or Don Village grilled chicken

This is a famous cuisine of the Central Highlands, particularly the Don Village in Dak Lak province. 

Chickens are embalmed with salt, chilli, citronella and honey before they are clipped by bamboo sticks to roast on charcoal. Roasted chicken is served with pepper or citronella salt and com lam.


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