The flavors of the mountains and forests at the Kon Tum Food Festival

The flavors of the mountains and forests at the Kon Tum Food Festival

Kon Tum Food Festival is held at Kon Klor Communal House – one of the unique architectural works, typical of the architectural system of the Ba Na people in Kon Tum. The large yard in front of the Rong House is where each group of artisans prepares materials and means to present their ethnic culinary techniques. Looming under the shade of ancient trees, the light golden sunshine of autumn makes visitors temporarily forget the hustle and bustle of life outside and immerse themselves in the culinary space.

1541303317 479 Taste of the mountains and forests at the Kon Tum Food FestivalYoung pupae stuffed with bamboo tubes

After a certain amount of time, the dishes are brought to the central communal house one by one, each team uses a separate table to present the dishes and the jury comes to score. Looking around, every team has unique dishes, rich in mountain flavors, expressing the “soul” of their nation. The Ro Mam ethnic group (Sa Thay district) offers a menu with the following dishes: Yellow ant fish salad, Bitter rattan cooked with fish stuffing, Grilled beef with salt and chili, Blood bamboo soup, Porcupine bones mixed with minced lemongrass and chili. The Je – Trieng ethnic group (Dak Glei district) also has a rich menu including: Sour fish in bamboo tube, Wild boar ambarella salad, Dried squirrel meat in the kitchen, Sticky rice rolled in dot leaves, Stir-fried squirrel with k’tem, Grilled wild chicken in bamboo tube. Even the Brau ethnic group (Ngoc Hoi district) has a very small population but has also created for itself an extremely attractive culinary culture with dishes: Braised fish with cassava leaves, Grilled stream fish with lolot leaves, Grilled rat meat in tubes, Wild chicken mixed with sour cassava leaves, Porcupine meat cooked with cornstarch. It is impossible to compare which team’s dish is better, because “each table has its own look, ten to ten”, which is truly “difficult” for the judges.

1541303317 887 Taste of the mountains and forests at the Kon Tum Food FestivalGrilled crickets

With nearly a hundred dishes presented in the Food Festival, although it is not possible to fully gather the entire cuisine of the ethnic minorities in the Northern Central Highlands, it still makes many diners admire and admire. . Surrounding foods such as chicken, beef, pork or wild game meat such as bamboo meat, porcupine meat, through the talented hands of artisans, have brought interesting experiences to the enjoyers. One surprising thing is that the artisans skillfully use unique ingredients such as weaver ants, rice crickets, young pupae, é leaves, wild pepper, etc., which bring a strange flavor of the forest, sometimes difficult to eat. But once you get used to it, you’ll become “addicted” without realizing it. For example, dishes Fish salad with yellow ants (Ro Mam ethnic group), when you first hear the name, many people feel scared, but when you see it with your own eyes, you will probably fall in love with it: Stream fish caught in the right size, three-finger size, brought home, cleaned and minced. Puree and squeeze out the water to reduce the fishy smell. Yellow ants choose the young ant nest, and bring the eggs back to pound and keep separate. Take salt, green chili, wild pepper and mix it with fish and ants, add a little rice powder (scorched roasted rice flour), to create a fragrant aroma. When eating, roll the fig leaves into bite-sized pieces and enjoy. The sweetness of the stream fish blends with the fatty taste of young ants and the spiciness of chili pepper, creating a wonderfully delicious flavor. Causing curiosity and creating excitement for many visitors is Kon Plong grilled chicken, because this dish has been recognized as one of the 50 delicious dishes of Vietnam. Choose Banh Mi chicken (free-range ethnic chicken, only about 1kg small but firm meat). Clean the chicken, marinate it with spices according to a specific recipe, and must have wild honey, dry it in the air for a while to let the chicken meat shrink, then put it on the charcoal grill. The taste of honey will make the cooked chicken have a beautiful shiny yellow color, giving off a sweet aroma that spreads so widely that even standing ten meters away, your sense of smell will still be strongly stimulated.

1541303317 114 Taste of the mountains and forests in Kon Tum Food FestivalFish wrapped in yellow ants

Although each ethnic group has its own processing techniques and secrets that outsiders cannot share widely, we can still see common features in the culinary culture of ethnic minorities in the Northern Central Highlands. First of all, all ethnic groups have delicious lam rice dishes, used in festivals, occasions to worship Giang and as food in the forest, which is both convenient, less time consuming and can be stored for a long time. To cook Lam rice, you must choose upland sticky rice that is sticky and especially fragrant. Cut the bamboo tube into a length of about 40 cm, leave the fresh water in the tube, wash the rice and put it in the tube and then tightly plug it with a banana leaf. Grill on a charcoal stove until the outer shell is covered with a black layer, and the sweet aroma of upland sticky rice is emitted. Besides, you can also easily recognize that many dishes use the technique of mincing raw beef, buffalo, porcupine, mouse, etc. There are meat dishes mixed with e and coriander leaves and grilled directly on charcoal; There is a meat dish mixed with salt, chili, ginger, and lemongrass, then wrapped in wild leaves or put in bamboo tubes, this way the pure sweetness of fresh wild meat is preserved.

The most wonderful highlight of the Kon Tum culinary festival is the jars of wine, each ethnic group has its own recipe and therefore also has different flavors and “drunkiness”. Some places bring can wine made from millet, other places also use can wine but use upland sticky rice, or use both types with appropriate mixing ratio. There is also banana wine and ginseng wine, which are precious medicines and very good for health. No one uses plastic or glass cups but must use convenient glasses made of bamboo tubes to drink wine to fully feel the warm flavor of Can wine.

The atmosphere of the Kon Tum ethnic cuisine festival really brings a lot of meaning. First of all, the dishes express the heart of the artisan who makes them, conveying sacred and profound meaning. From there, the ability to connect solidarity, enhance exchanges and mutual learning between fraternal nations. For each lucky tourist present at the Food Festival, this is a rare opportunity for them to enjoy “authentic” dishes with mountain and forest flavors made by the hands of ethnic minority artisans. How often does this opportunity come around?

Ha Oanh

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