If you are traveling to Vietnam, it’s important to have an open mind about what you are eating. If you are looking to cook up a unique Vietnamese dish, forget the pho, banh mi sandwiches or com tam. Here are edible flowers in Vietnam you can use for cooking at home. You should be able to find most of these at grocery store or local farmer’s market.
A lot of Vietnamese have a vivid recollection of their time as a child, running on the fields, playing with neighbour children, and fishing and foraging for food. One of the most distinctive aspects about Vietnamese cuisine is its use of unconventional ingredients, which reflects the difficult times during which people must try to create food from anything and everything that they can find. One of the ingredients that Vietnamese use to cook that you won’t easily find in other cuisines are flowers of many kind. Let’s explore these simultaneously unique and delectable flowers with Viet36, and maybe you can try to make some fancy dishes yourself!
In Vietnam, banana is a very popular fruit, and the odd-looking banana flowers are also consumed. However, there are only two varieties of bananas whose flowers are edible: chuối Sứ/ chuối Xiêm (Siamese banana) and chuối hột (wild banana).
While the flowers from other varieties are often bitter or acrid, Siamese and wild banana flowers have a mild, watery taste and crunchy texture.It creates a surprisingly refreshing and fun addition to salad, sour soups as well as noodle bowls. Banana flower is often diced into thin curls and consumed along side other herbs.
As the name suggested, this flower is originally grown in northern Vietnam and is a famous ingredient thanks to its fragrance and the ability to be combine with many other ingredients. One of the most unique dish that you can try is stir-fried Tonkin jasmine with beef and garlic, or fish soup with tonkin jasmine, which offer a dinstintive fragrance and crunchy texture. This flower grow in vines, and are also often planted for aesthetic.
The lotus is regarded by many people as Vietnam’s symbolic flower. Often associated with divinity, spirituality and particularly Buddhism. In past literature, the flower appeared often as a metaphor to describe the Vietnamese people themselves,for their resilience and purity. The image of the pritine lotus flower rising from the muddy bottom of a lake is an inspiring one indeed.
Not only used for decoration, many parts of the plant, if not all, are also utilized for cooking and traditional medicines for centuries. In Vietnam, lotus root, lotus rhizome and lotus seeds are commonly used for cooking, such as salads and desserts, and snacks.
Lotus flowers are often used for food decoration and for flavouring tea. The tea made from lotus is believed to help relax the blood vessels and improving circulation, which is particularly useful for helping with heart diseases and memory problems in the elderly.
Sour soups is a beloved dish in Vietnam, whether they are cooked with meat, mollusk or fish. To create a sour taste that is natural, Vietnamese cooks often use ingredients such as tamarine, tomato or dracontomelon… But if those ingredients are unavailable, the roselle hibiscus is a perfect replacement with its light, tangy taste.
Hibiscus have a distinctive deep red hue and look like little fruits. Thanks to multiple heath benefit, today the flowers are farmed in large quantity; for making tea and syrup. Drinks made from hibiscus are becoming increasing popular in recent years.
Often found submerged in shallow muddy water in the Mekong Delta region, Egyptian riverhemp is a delicate, pale yellow flower. The flowers have a very mild flavour and soft texture, but their colour adds a vibrancy to these soups that’s very eye-catching. The flower can be harvested during months of the “floating season”, and this flower can be found in two of the Mekong Delta’s most iconic dishes: fish and fish sauce noodle.
Pumkin is a popular food world wide, but not everyone knows that pumkin flower is also edible, and is used to create delicious dishes on its own. Cooking pumkin flower is quite simple: you can choose to stir-fry them with some garlic, or use them as an addition to a broth to create a delectable soup.
While the flowers themselves don’t offer a lot of flavous, it is the stem that makes the dish with a mild sweet flavour and crunchy texture.
Cobblers pegs flowers
Bidens pilosa (Vietnamese: xuyến chi) may have some names like cobblers pegs, black-jack, beggarticks, farmer’s friends or Spanish needle. In Vietnam, during the Vietnam War, soldiers adopted the herb as a vegetable, which led to it being known as the “soldier vegetable”. Nowdays, the herb is still considered as a wild herb, rather than a mainstream veggie. In cooking, its edible shoots including its flowers can be used in stir fry dishes or in soups.
In Vietnam, almost artichokes were planting at Lac Duong, Thai Phien and Van Thanh of Dalat.
The harvested season of artichoke in Dalat is from May to July annually. At this harvested season, you can take advantage of purchasing the best artichokes at the cheapest price.
Artichoke soup stewed with pig’s feet is especially good for women after baby delivery, the soup increases the amount of natural milk available to the mother. In addition, this soup helps keep the heart in good condition to inhale sufficient oxygen, so those poor circulation and heart disease patients should eat this food twice a week to strengthen their heart, maintain good blood circulation to help their skin be pinky.
Ingredients to cook the dish include pork trotters, artichoke flowers, carrot, fresh onion, coriander, dried purple onion, salt, pepper, and pork broth.
To cook the dish, first you clean the pork trotters and cut them into pieces. Then parboil it, before letting them cool and marinating them with minced dried onion, salt, pepper, sugar and broth for half an hour.
Vietnamese cuisine is vast, diverse and interesting. Above are only some of the unique ingredients that can be found inside a Vietnamese’s kitchen. If you’d like, Viet36 can take you on journey that let you explore the exciting culinary of Vietnam in more details!