Coming to the island, about 25 minutes by canoe form Hoi An city, you do not only admire the pristine and peaceful beauty in here, but also cannot resist the 7 following specialties.
As a peaceful island cluster, Cham islet always welcomes tourists by the sound of waves, long white sandbanks and clear seawater. A trip to Cham islet will give the visitors memoriable experiences, especially when enjoying the specialties of Cham islet which is very familiar to the locals but rare, expensive or hard to find in the main land for the tourists.
Cua da (rock crab)
It is the popular dish of Cu Lao Cham that everyone would like to taste at least once. It is called rock crabs because it lives in caves on the mountain. The crabs here eat grass on the mountain and drink early morning water, so the crab meat is very sweet, greasy and not fishy like sea crab normally.
According to the experience of the people on the island, the crabs will be more delicious if they are cleaned and then processed. The simplest dish from this crab is grilled and steamed with beer. More sophisticated, it can be stirred with taramind or roasted with salt. If grilled on charcoal, no spices, the crabs smell good. Islanders say that rock crab is a drug which is very delicious and makes the spirit extraordinarily pleasure. So, rock crab has long been the king of Cu Lao Cham cuisine. Do not miss this rock crab because if you return to the main land, you will regret.
Muc mot nang (Sun-dried squid)
The sun-dried squid in Cu Lao Cham is specially processed. The sun-dried squid with a sweet smell is dry in outside but still fresh inside. When you eat, you just feel the freshness of the squid, and see the whole dry taste. Cu Lao Cham has a variety of squids: Muc la, Muc ong, Muc ghim and octopus … but people often choose fresh squid to make sun-dried squid.
Making sun-dried squid is not difficult but requires meticulous process: grilled on small fire, not fired too long. When the squid turns yellow, it has a good smelling. The sweet and soft squid mixed with the pungent taste of chili sauce is very interesting.
Coming to Cham island to enjoy the new fresh abalone caught on the beach, nothing is more excellent. Abalone is one of the rare species of snails, known by many names as Oc cuu khong (because of the 9 holes) or Hai nhi (because of the shape like the ear).
These snails often cling to coral reefs in saline water so it is difficult to detect them. To catch abalone, experienced fishermen have to dive deep into the sea and it is difficult to separate them from the rocks. Hence, abalone is loved by a lot of visitors.
Abalone has a thick round body, full meat. To enjoy it , just washed the sand outside, no need to soak the waste like other types of snails, to cook immediately to retain its nutritional values. The crispy and good smelling abalone is made into a variety of tempting and flavorful dishes that no other seafood can match. Fresh abalone can be processed into many dishes such as boiled, steamed or fried depending on the taste of customers.
Banh it la gai (It cake)
For a long time, Banh it la gai has become the kind of cake that has a unique taste and become a private brand name for Cu Lao Cham, so many tourists coming here have to buy it. The cakes are like the pride of Hoi An people.
Oc vu nang
It is a strange specialties for many visitors to Cu Lao Cham. Oc vu nang has a gray-black outer shell, and a glossy nacre. Boiled Oc vu nang is simple but equally attractive. This dish is served hot with salt, pepper and lemon. In addition, the snail on the charcoal oven or snail salad also has an unforgettable taste.
Cu Lao Cham forest vegetables
Bringing the flavor of herbal medicine, the forest vegetables grow on the mountain and are various in term of types: Rau don, Rau san, Rau lui and Ma de… Boiled vegetable is the simplest dishes, but also the best one.
Raw vegetables with seafood is rolled in rice cake paper and dipped into Nem sauce. Vegetables are also used to cook soup with shrimp or minced meat or wild vegetables are dried and then drunk as tea in the use of detoxification. Also, in Cham Island you can enjoy another vegetable, which is bitter vegetable (Rau dang).
The bird nest is a rare food with high nutritional values. It is a good gift for your family, especially the elderly.
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