Mekong Delta food adventure: 5 foods you should not miss in Ha Tien


Ha Tien Town in Kien Giang Province, known for its beautiful beaches, boasts some unique delicacies.

Mantis shrimp

Tom tit, or stomatopods, is a dish that seafood lovers do not want to miss out when visiting Ha Tien costal town.Since this type of shrimp usually breeds around March and April of the lunar calender, the best time to try this food is during September and October when the specy carries lots of ripe roes. These eggs are considered a delicacy and perfectly safe and delicious to eat. In addition, stomatopods caught during this season will have more fat, similar to tomalley, and more meat to it.The seafood can be found at different restaurants across Ha Tien that can be cooked in various method such as steaming with lemongrass, roasting with garlic or cooking in hot pot. Each portion causes between VND100,000-150,000 ($4.31-6.46).

Tom tit, or mantis shrimp, is a dish that seafood lovers do not want to miss out on when visiting Ha Tien. Since this creature usually breeds around the third and fourth lunar months, the best time to try this food is six months before that when it carries a lot of ripe roe. These eggs are considered a delicacy. Besides, tom tit caught during this season will have more fat and meat.

Mantis shrimp can be found in restaurants across Ha Tien cooked in various ways such as steamed with lemongrass, roasted with garlic and cooked in a hot pot. A portion costs VND100,000-150,000 ($4.3-6.5).

Tongue shell (lamp shell)

Ca xiu, commonly known as tongue shell or lamp shell, is a type of seafood that lives in the muddy part of rivers, estuaries and brackish water with long pedicle that attachs to the ground, making it easier to find food.The seafood might have strange appearance but it is considered a delicacies of Kien Giang.The food has seasonal price since best time to eat ca xiu is only during June and August when local eat them fresh, fry with garlic to be eaten with rice or ferment it to be eaten all year round.

Ca xiu, commonly known as tongue shell or lamp shell, lives in the muddy part of rivers, estuaries and brackish water with a long pedicle attached to the ground, making it easier to find food. It might have a strange appearance but is considered a delicacy in Ha Tien.

The dish has seasonal prices with the best time being June and August when locals eat them fresh. They also fry them with garlic and eat with rice or ferment them to eat all year round.

Snakehead fish noodle soup

Bun ken, or snakehead fish noodle soup,

Bun ken, or snakehead fish noodle soup, involves a sophisticated cooking process. After the fish is cooked in boiling water, the chef will fillet it and turn it into mam ruoc through fermentation. Some of the meat is stir-fried with onion, garlic, curry powder, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, and fish meal. Then the chef puts this mixture into a pot of fish broth, adds seasoning and coconut milk and boils on a fire. The broth has a sweetish taste from the coconut milk.

It is served with dried shrimp, fish paste, bean sprouts and cucumber on top. Foodies can also add lemon, chili and fish sauce to fit their taste. A bowl costs VND20,000 ($0.86).

Redtail fusilier

Grilled ca do, or redtail fusilier, is a common afternoon snack of Ha Tien people. This dish is sold a lot in the city center but visitors can find it on Tran Hau Street. This place is considered as a meeting place for people who love red fish.When there are guests, the soft red fish, soaked in spices, will be grilled by the owner on a charcoal grill. Fish after baking fragrant and not dry. Sour things with a little chili will stimulate your taste buds even more. Each meal costs 25,000 VND.

Grilled ca do, or redtail fusilier, with pickled papaya is a popular afternoon snack in Ha Tien. This dish is commonly sold in the downtown area, but the best place to try it is at a no-name street stall near Tran Hau and Phuong Thanh streets.

The fish is coated with spices and grilled on charcoal until it gives off a nice smell. Eating the fish with pickled papaya and chili will stimulate your taste buds even more. A portion costs VND25,000 ($1.08).

Vietnamese baguette and cow offal

Banh mi, the Vietnamese baguette

Banh mi pha lau, or baguette filled with cow offal, is an exotic street food thanks to the unique filling. What make this dish unique are the chewy pieces that are yet soft enough to melt in your mouth.

Each vendor has a unique way of cooking the innards. But chefs in Ha Tien cook them with coconut milk to give the dish a sweetish taste. A portion costs VND15,000 ($0.65).