Snack for a rainy day

Hoa Binh Province is endowed with diverse terrain, with hills, rivers and lakes dotted across the landscape. There is no shortage of delicious food that once tried is hard to forget,

 and one of those dishes is mountain snail papaya salad with bold flavours of the northwest mountainous region. 

Snack for a rainy day
Local people believe that mountain snails are a highly medicinal food because they eat herbs. — VNS Photo Kieu Trinh

When the rainy season arrives, it is time for people to harvest fresh natural products from the mountains and forests. They often go searching for snails at night or in the early morning. The snails are washed and steamed, and then shaken to make the flesh easier to access. The flesh is then mixed with green papaya and herbs such as coriander, mint and sawtooth, and then seasoned to taste. According to Lo Thi Phuong, the young owner of Meadow Mai Chau Homestay, the most difficult part about making the dish is steaming the snail. “Snails must be steamed until cooked. If they are overcooked, they become chewy and lose their flavour. And of course, raw snails are no good,” she said. 

Snack for a rainy day
Removing the snails from their shells requires dexterity and care. — VNS Photo Minh Phuong

The seasoning is also a key factor that determines customer satisfaction. The aroma of the herbs and chilli helps to mask the slight smell of the marshes where the snails are founds, and enhances the crispy fat. “This dish has a harmony of salty, sweet, sour and spicy flavours. The snail flesh is crispy and sweet, with the strange tangy taste of medicinal herbs that my mother uses to serve my grandparents,” said Hoang Ngoc Anh from the Goethe Institute after enjoying the dish.

The snails eat leaves, mainly herbs that grow wild in the mountains, so local people believe they are very nutritious. “A long time ago, our ancestors realised that mountain snails were not poisonous and ate many herbs, so they started eating them. We believe that the snails are very nutritious. My mother said that this type of snail is not only delicious, but also has a very good analgesic effect”, Phuong said. That's why when people prepare dishes using mountain snails, they only wash them roughly to retain their medicinal value.

Mountain snail papaya salad is a local creation. This dish is usually prepared for special meals when guests can enjoy sumptuous array of food including pork, beef and chicken. It has the effect of heightening the appetite despite overindulgent feasting, and encourages heavy drinking.

Mountain snails can also be cooked in many other diverse dishes, including grilled snails with banana leaves and fried snails with lemongrass or tamarind. 

 
Snack for a rainy day
Mountain snails can only be gathered during the rainy season. VNS Photo Kieu Trinh

It is not always possible to enjoy this specialty because the snails only crawl out to eat and breed in the rainy season. The rest of the time, they bury themselves underground or in thick layers of leaves or crevices.

When the dark clouds gather, signalling the rain is coming, it is time for them to find food. Snails often gather in humid places with standing water and herbs. They are picky about their habitat, so they like to live in places with similar conditions. This makes it easier to find them in large numbers.

If you find yourself in Hoa Binh during the rainy season, as luck would have it, this is the dish to try.  VNS

Kieu Trinh

Reviving a popular destination

Reviving a popular destination

Twenty-year-old Lo Thi Bich Phuong and her husband Ha Van thuc, 29, opened their homestay in Nhot Village, Mai Chau District in the northern province of Hoa Binh, 140 km southwest of Hà Nội, in 2019.

Foreigners savour tranquil scenery of villages in Mai Chau

Foreigners savour tranquil scenery of villages in Mai Chau

A number of the villages scattered throughout Mai Chau district in the northern province of Hoa Binh boast stunning natural landscapes which provides visitors with a great experience.

 
 

Other News

.
Museum teaches students Vietnam’s glorious and heroic history
Museum teaches students Vietnam’s glorious and heroic history
TRAVELicon  28/12/2020 

The Vietnam Military History Museum Hanoi, also known as the Army Museum, is home to an extensive collection of weaponry that was used throughout Vietnam’s war-filled history.

Community-based tourism potentials in Hoa Binh Lake
Community-based tourism potentials in Hoa Binh Lake
TRAVELicon  28/12/2020 

Dubbed as “Ha Long Bay on land” with peaceful villages along the banks, Hoa Binh Lake is becoming an attractive tourism destination for visitors.

Bounty of the flood season
Bounty of the flood season
TRAVELicon  28/12/2020 

Hau Giang is one of the provinces at the end of Hau River, a branch of the Mekong River in the south of Vietnam. Hence flood season here comes later than areas along other sections of the river delta.

Broken rice is the flavour of the south
Broken rice is the flavour of the south
TRAVELicon  25/12/2020 

Any trip to HCM City wouldn't be complete without trying some cơm tấm (broken rice).

Lai Chau holds Open Putaleng Paragliding Tournament 2020
Lai Chau holds Open Putaleng Paragliding Tournament 2020
TRAVELicon  25/12/2020 

The Open Putaleng Paragliding Tournament is currently under way between December 24 to 27 along with the hot air balloon activities in Lai Chau Province's Tam Duong District to boost local tourism.

Exploring prolific vermicelli production in Hanoi’s ancient village
Exploring prolific vermicelli production in Hanoi’s ancient village
TRAVELicon  25/12/2020 

Cu Da vermicelli village in Hanoi is famous for both ancient French-style houses and a long tradition of making vermicelli.

Hanoi’s landmarks stand the tests of time - The extraordinary heritages
Hanoi’s landmarks stand the tests of time - The extraordinary heritages
FEATUREicon  27/12/2020 

Through many ups and downs of history, Hanoi’s downtown today still remains the ancient parts in the modern city with unique identities.

Hanoi’s landmarks stand the tests of time - The holly relics
Hanoi’s landmarks stand the tests of time - The holly relics
FEATUREicon  26/12/2020 

Founded over thousand years ago, Hanoi capital grew from swamplands into the charismatic city as it is today with hundreds of historical architecture works.

Churches in Hanoi shine with colourful decorations ahead of Christmas
Churches in Hanoi shine with colourful decorations ahead of Christmas
TRAVELicon  24/12/2020 

Churches throughout the capital have been transformed with an array of colourful decorations in the buildup to Christmas. Let’s take a tour around Hanoi to discover the changes occurring with Christmas Eve fast approaching.

Airport and tourism sector join forces to recover from COVID-19
Airport and tourism sector join forces to recover from COVID-19
TRAVELicon  24/12/2020 

Da Nang's tourism department, iDa Nang International terminal investment and operation JSC (AHT) and Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), has agreed to build Da Nang as a ‘safe’, attraction and hospitality destination in 2021-25.

Best places to dive in Vietnam
Best places to dive in Vietnam
TRAVELicon  27/12/2020 

There are plenty of spectacular spots to explore underwater in Vietnam.

Vietnamese food: Grilled pig's leg with noodles
Vietnamese food: Grilled pig's leg with noodles
TRAVELicon  27/12/2020 

Shrimp paste maybe smelly to many, but when it is mixed with galangal and pig’s legs, it can create a rich flavoured dish. 

Domestic tours expected to surge for Tet holiday
Domestic tours expected to surge for Tet holiday
TRAVELicon  23/12/2020 

With the third outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic under control, the demand for domestic tours during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday is expected to rise in the next few weeks, according to travel agencies.

Fansipan peak covered in frost as temperature plunges to zero
Fansipan peak covered in frost as temperature plunges to zero
TRAVELicon  23/12/2020 

Frost appeared to cover the peak of Fansipan Mountain in Sa Pa tourist resort of northern Lao Cai Province on Dec 21 morning following the outdoor temperature dropping to below zero degrees Celsius.

Young H’mong man opens homestay on Ha Giang plateau
Young H’mong man opens homestay on Ha Giang plateau
FEATUREicon  26/12/2020 

With just VND500,000, Sung Mi Phin went from Ha Giang to Sa Pa in Lao Cai to study English and learn how to make money from tourism.

Top locations for Xmas, New Year’s Eve celebrations
Top locations for Xmas, New Year’s Eve celebrations
TRAVELicon  23/12/2020 

Many places throughout the country are set to hold coming Christmas and New Year festivals with significant discounts on offer to lure additional domestic tourists.

Ho Tay Flower Valley: An ideal venue to take photos in Hanoi
Ho Tay Flower Valley: An ideal venue to take photos in Hanoi
TRAVELicon  26/12/2020 

Located in Nhat Chieu Street, near Dam Tri lotus pond in the West Lake area, Ho Tay Flower Valley has recently become a tourist attraction for many Hanoians.

Visitors flock to Sapa to enjoy snowy Christmas
Visitors flock to Sapa to enjoy snowy Christmas
TRAVELicon  22/12/2020 

A winter tourism festival is underway in Sapa town in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai. Tourists to the town during this time can experience a Christmas atmosphere with a Japanese-style snow village and well-decorated pine trees.

Hanoi street foods can be cooked in the US
Hanoi street foods can be cooked in the US
TRAVELicon  25/12/2020 

For many foreigners, Hanoi street food has dished up nostalgia.

Ho Chi Minh Museum - where precious artifacts about Vietnam’s first President are kept
Ho Chi Minh Museum - where precious artifacts about Vietnam’s first President are kept
TRAVELicon  23/12/2020 

Located at Ngoc Ha Street in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh District, Ho Chi Minh Museum is one of the largest museums in Vietnam, storing artifacts and materials from the life of President Ho Chi Minh.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN