No one can say how long this simple dish has belonged to the Ninh Binh people but it has been a familiar dish both with local people and also for visitors from near and far.
This dish is named after the famous place it is made. In the past, it was a dish served to students who came from other regions but stopped at Ninh Binh before continuing their trip to their examinations. But now, it has become a local delicacy that is served in many restaurants in big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang.
The cooking technique of this dish is quite elaborate. To make the dish requires not only a secret formula but also passion for the work. The meat to make delicious Yen Mac fermented spring rolls must be lean pork and makers usually choose meat right after the pigs are slaughtered to make the spring rolls fresher and more flavourful. Afterwards, the meat is cut into 2-3 cm long slices. Then, the slices are ground and mixed with “thinh” (a kind of ground roasted rice). Next, the meat is put into one garment to press it which will help it to be kept longer. The pork skins are boiled and cut into thin slices. Pork meat and skins are mixed with “thinh” again, a pinch of salt is added and it is then rolled into small rolls covered with guava leaves and wrapped in banana leaves. Next, the rolls are tightened by strings split from giang, one type of bamboo which has long nodes.
Yen Mac fermented spring rolls are served with guava leaves, fig leaves and aromatic vegetables dipped into” nuoc mam” which is mixed with garlic, lemon juice, pepper and chilli. When visitors have a chance to enjoy the dish, they will feel the greasy taste of meat, the buttery and fresh taste of guava leaves, fig leaves as well as sourness, sweetness and the saltiness of “nuoc mam”.