Dried shrimp – Ca Mau Cape flavor

Dried shrimp was voted one of the top 10 gift specialties of Vietnam (June 2017) by The World and Vietnam food channel of the Vietnam Record Organization (VietKings). Along with specialties such as Shan Tuyet Suoi Giang Tea (Yen Bai), Green Bean Cake (Hai Duong), Sesame (Thua Thien Hue), Ly Son Garlic (Quang Ngai), Bau Da Wine (Binh Dinh), Bird’s Nest (Khanh Hoa), Buon Me Thuot Coffee (Dak Lak), Ngoc Linh Ginseng (Kon Tum), Honey (Gia Lai).

Vietnamese cuisine culture is rich and unique. Each region has its own characteristics and taste, contributing to the unique and attractive Vietnamese cuisine. In particular, Ca Mau cuisine bears forest and sea flavor because Ca Mau is a land with many ecosystems. There is a combination of mangrove, freshwater; and brackish-water swamps ecosystems, which facilitate the development of many specialities and creatures bearing the characteristic flavor of Ca Mau Cape. Famous specialties are very suitable to use as gifts for relatives after each trip.  Particularly, visitors cannot ignore dried shrimp. Nowadays, Ca Mau dried shrimp is famous in not only in the domestic market but also in the world market.

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It is not by chance that Ca Mau dried shrimp was voted by the Vietnam Record Organization – VietKings. The taste of Ca Mau dried shrimp go into visitors’ hearts when they were once tasted. The sweetness at the tip of the tongue, natural scent makes everyone interested and want to bring it back as a gift to their relatives after a long trip.

Dried shrimp facilities have been established in all over coastal districts of Ca Mau Province but the most popular dried shrimp is in Rach Goc, Ngoc Hien district. Every year, the most bustling time is probably when the monsoon blows (from October to December in the lular calendar), the local people are busy with producing dried shrimp for Tet holiday.

Dried shrimp are mainly made from natural shrimps such as silver shrimp, greasyback shrimp, soil shrimp and lead shrimp, etc which are caught from river, sea or shrimp farm. However, the most delicious dried shrimp are greasyback shrimps which are not very large (The average size is nearly equal to the little finger) hard and thick shell. This kind of shrimp can still live within a few hours after being catched. The cooked shrimp meat is in natural red.

It is necessary to choose fresh shrimp for good finished product. Shrimp must be boiled in boiling water, then the salt is added and then dried in the sunshine or dried in the drying oven. In order to produce the dried shrimps that are tasteful and still retain the aroma, the person in charge of boiling shrimps is very important. The shrimps must be cooked with medium flame and a reasonable number of salt, the right time of removing, drying shrimp in the sunshine or in the drying oven. Shrimps are often boiled in the morning to have plenty of time to dry in the sunshine.  Shrimp must be exposed to the sun for only two days. Otherwise, dried shrimp will smell badly and lose color and its meat will not be delicious.

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The dried shrimp production process is applied in general. However, each production facility has its own secret. Unlike that of any place, Ca Mau dried shrimp is special because the aroma, salty and sweetness are mixed with each other and bear the flavor of Ca Mau Cape.

Visitors who used to set foot on Ca Mau Cape will forever forget the flavor of the alluvial sea region full of sunshine and wind. If you have not ever come here, then come to Ca Mau Cape once to see the beauty of nature with your own eyes, enjoy the produce and feel the love for land and human in the southernmost land of the country.

Article and Photo: Kieu Trang

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