Vietnamese cuisine is so amazing. There are a lot of dishes made from unique ingredients that harly find in any where else. These are dishes from consumable flowers in Vietnam.
Squash Blossoms (Bong bi)
Bloomed in summer with a bright golden color, squash blossoms are not only attractive but also good to eat. The plants produce both male and female flowers. Therefore, in order to make the most of the harvest, farmers pick the male blossoms and preserve the female ones for bearing fruit. The blossoms are carefully harvested before dawn, when they are still in bud forms, and sold in bundles at the marketplace. The dishes that can be made using these delicate, beautiful flowers are not complicated, but they do require great care, in order to maintain their glorious color and form.
Vietnamese Shrimp Stuffed Deep Fried Squash Blossoms (“Bông bí nhồi tôm chiên” or “Chả bông bí”) is a very popular dish among Vietnamese people, especially those who inhabit the Southern regions of Vietnam and Hue. When deep-fried in hot oil, the flowers become crispy. They are then combined with the minced, seasoned fresh shrimp insides, to create a super-delicious taste. This dish can be eaten as an appetizer or as a main course.
Another dish that can be made using this wonderful flower is Stir-fired Squash Blossoms With Beef (Thịt Bò Xào Bông Bí). The soft texture and the sweetness of the flowers balance the toughness and saltiness of the beef out, enhancing its flavor. Because of the squash flowers’ juiciness and lovely aroma, this course will taste best when tried during the hot weather season. Needless to say, squash blossoms are more than a schnazzy garnish!
Tonkin Jasmine flowers (bong thien ly)
Tonkin jasmine or tonkin creeper flowers can be found all around Vietnam. They are called “bông thiên lý”, “hoa thiên lý” or “dạ lý hương”, because they bloom at night and smell like Ylang Ylang flowers. Besides being used in traditional medicine, tonkin jasmine flowers are also a great ingredient for cooking.
One delicious dish with tonkin jasmine flowers, which is a kind of a staple in Vietnamese meals, is Stir-fried Tonkin Jasmine Flowers and Shrimp (“Tôm xào bông thiên lý”). When cooked, the flowers turn bright green and start tasting like green peas, with a very slight scent of perfume. This dish is often eaten as a side vegetarian dish.
Another good choice for summer is Tonkin Jasmine And Fish Sour Soup (Canh chua cá nấu bông thiên lý). Unlike other sour soups with tamarind, this soup’s sour taste comes from tomatoes, which bring a brilliant red color to the broth, turning it into a wonderfully colored, contrasting background against the bright green color of the tonkin jasmine and the white color of the fish.
If you prefer milder soups, you might love Freshwater Crab And Tonkin Jasmine Soup (Canh cua đồng nấu bông thiên lý). It has a typical countryside taste; the pure look and mild flavor of the soup can be combined with other salty stewed dishes for a more satisfying dish. This soup is not only fresh and delicious, but it can also help reduce your anxiety levels, and help you sleep better, when frequently consumed.
Banana Blossoms (hoa chuoi)
Banana Blossoms can be easily found in almost every part of Vietnam’s countryside,and they are normally eaten as a side dish, accompanying many Vietnamese noodle recipes. They can be cooked or sliced into long strings, and then dipped into hot soup.
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