Cà Mau Province's Crab Festival, held in the last week of 2022, was a great success, with 69 crab dishes being recognised as the nation's most delicious specialities by VietKings.
These dishes range from steamed crab with beer or coconut juice to roasted crab with tamarind and salt, and even crab hotpot and tapioca (thick Vietnamese noodles made from tapioca flour or a mixture of rice and tapioca flour) noodle soup.
|Many dinners are interested in Cà Mau Province's steamed crab so much. Photo casnghaisan.com
Cà Mau Cape, with its mangrove ecosystem and immense sea, has an abundance of seafood and prominent among them are crabs. This species has very high economic value and has won a lot of dinners, said Bùi Văn Chiến, a resident of Ngọc Hiển District, which is famed for its crabs.
“This kind of crab has a natural fragrant with a light sweet flavour and meat that can't be compared to crabs from other regions," he said, adding that the crabs were born in the sea and then washed into rivers, ponds and dams, where they dig holes to live in.
Crab season falls from the seventh to eighth lunar months every year.
“During peak season, crab is most tasty with firm meat and much crab roe,” Chiến said.
|Ingredients for crab hotpot include rice vermicelli, fresh vegetables, herbs and different tasty sauces. Photo casnghaisan.com
He said these crabs are high in vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids such as Omega-3, which is very good for health. Despite their expensive price, these crabs are still available in restaurants in the province.
Nguyễn Ngọc Hải, a bank manager from Hà Nội, said he likes steamed crab with beer and crab hotpot so much.
“The dish is enjoyable when being dipped in green chilli salt or lemon pepper salt thanks to the natural sweetness of the crab meat, the buttery fat flavour of crab roes and the salty and hotness of the sauce,” he said, adding that beer helps mask the fishy smell.
|Bánh canh cua or crab tapioca noodle soup is not only a quality, must-try dish but also helps to recall childhood memories of many locals, particularly during Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday. Photo casnghaisan.com
As well as the steamed crab, he also likes crab hotpot because the broth is attractive with the red colour from tomatoes and crab roes, and green from fresh onion as well as light fragrant from herbs such as coriander.
“Taking a piece of white and firm crab meat dipped in hot chilli fish sauce, its aromatic and rich flavour could make you more ecstatic,” he said.
A crab dish seller Lê Thị Xuân, in Ngọc Hiển District, said apart from these dishes, many dinners choose bánh canh cua Cà Mau because the fragrant rice noodles mixed with the fresh sweet and fatty crab in addition to special broth, all creating a delicious dish that no one wishes to refuse it.
|Crab spring rolls are a traditional and indispensable dish on a tray of almost Vietnamese Tết party. Photo casnghaisan.com
“Many dinners told me that the dish is of their favourite because, apart from its quality, it recalls a lot of their childhood memories,” she said.
To cook the dish to its tastiest, Xuân often chooses high-quality crabs to boil and separates the meat and roe. Each cook has their own secrets to make the dish, but it is enhanced when eaten with high-quality Phú Quốc fish sauce and thin slices of fresh chilli.
“Many visitors and travellers to Cà Mau often ask me to give them a recipe of this dish so that they can cook it at their home,” she said, noting that despite the expensive price, many of them bought as much as 10 kg of crab or more to bring home as a gift for their relatives and friends. VNS