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 Ninh Hoa fermented pork roll
Update:9/4/2009
 

Ninh Hoa is a coastal district of Khanh Hoa Province, right to the north of Nha Trang. The area is famous for its food specialties - Nem chua (fermented pork roll) and Nem nuong (grilled meatballs).

Thanks to special skills and elaborate processing, the dishes have a unique taste quite different from any others.

Nem chua is made of raw lean meats and pork skin. The raw meat-ground by pestle and mortar-needs to be well kneaded by hand, without any machine assistance. The well-kneaded meat is then mixed with boiled and sliced pork skin, then wrapped with Vong or Chum Ruot leaves, found in town. To make sure that the dish is fermented as required and to make it more attractive, locals cover the nem with green banana leaves and tie with bamboo string. The small roll is then tied together into bunches. It takes around 3-4 days to complete the fermenting process. Take off the wrapped leaves, see the light red hues of the nem chua and taste it with garlic or chili sauce: this is a unique gourmet experience! Don't worry too much about the dishes’ standard of hygiene, because the fermenting process makes nem chua sour and safe as if it were fully cooked. Note: it tastes even better with a few alcoholic drinks, such as beer!

Different from nem chua, nem nuong (or grilled meatball) is always served hot and spicy. Lean meat-­again ground by pestle and mortar - is mixed with thin slices of fat and spices, such as garlic, pepper, salt, etc. The mixture is rolled into small balls then skewered or grilled over a charcoal oven. The cooked meat is then wrapped with rice pancake, filled with additional lettuce, sliced green banana, star apple, cucumber, perilla, sweet leek, etc. The whole roll is best served with a special sauce made of soy sauce, minced meat, sugar, salt, garlic, red pepper, peanuts and other spices. You can try the delicious dish in many street stores or from vendors around the city. The fat drips down on the fire and the resulting smoke whet your appetite. But just in case you don’t smell it, you may hear “ai an nem nuong khong?” (meaning “who wants to eat grilled meatballs?”). Nem nuong can be eaten all year around, but the best time is when the weather is cool.

Price: nem chua costs VND 1,000 a piece; nem nuong costs VND 1,000 a piece


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