The northeastern coast province of Quang Ninh is more known for its beautiful landscapes than its gastronomy. A recent visit to the area helped me discover a local specialty that is not to be missed, cha muc or fried pasted squid.
Local people say that cha mucQuang Ninh has a typical sweet and soft taste. To make the best dish, people will choose freshly caught squid before removing their heads and skin. The next step is the most meticulous process when you have to grind squid steadily by hand in a stone mortar to have a sticky combination. Then you put peppers, fish sauce and liquid lard into the mixture before molding pasted squid into some small round-shape portions to fry in a hot pan. The food is cooked fast so you have to turn it over often. The best fried pasted squid will have a yellow cover with a delicious smell. A taste of the food with spicy chili sauce will be a delight to any diner.
Local people also recommended me to enjoy fried squid with sticky rice or hot steamed rolled rice pancake. However, I felt the food was good enough on its own. Packaged fried squid is also available at local supermarkets so travelers can buy for souvenirs.
(Sai Gon Times)