Getting you excited, totally changing the way you have been living your life, helping you have a more positive outlook on life, there is a ton of reasons why you should try new things. And small things make a huge difference. For example, start a blog, meet strange people, make new friends, take a new way to work, and even try new food.
More than just what gives us essential nutrients, food plays an important role in a country’s culture and tradition. That’s why there is a saying that food is an essential part of everyone’s life.
The Mekong Delta region in Vietnam is home to an incredible number of great, taste-bud tingling, pleasant-smelling, and appetizing savories. And one of the greatest pleasures of going on a Mekong Delta tour is trying out new cuisines. So many awesome fares are waiting for you. Rat meat is an excellent example. Just branch out of your comfort zone and give it a try!
Rice-field rat meat – a welcome change from the mundane
Rat grilled with chili salt
People on their Mekong Delta adventure can find plenty of different options on the menu. Among them, deep-fried rat meat, barbecued rat meat, rat curry with rich coconut milk and aromatic spices, rat cooked in sour and spicy broth, rat stewed in sweet coconut juice, and rat grilled with chili and lemongrass, each of which has its own distinctive flavor.
No matter which way it is cooked, the rat meat (which is always caught locally in the paddy fields and never frozen) tastes a sort of mixture of pork and fish – extraordinarily tender and juicy that those on their Mekong Delta group tours sometimes can’t help themselves from ordering some more.
Don’t let their scary appearance – an animal with a big head and light brown/dark brown fur pull you back! You might find this strange dish disconcerting at first. But after just one bite, you will call it a comforting food and want more as your mind still do not thoroughly comprehend that excellent blend of freshy, crispy, tender, sweet, savory, unbelievably tangy, and juicy deliciousness with a lovely layer of fat that melts down perfectly.
Deep-fried rat meat
Nutrition-wise, this substitute for bush meat is said to have such a high amount of essential amino acids. That way, eating rice-field rats is a good way not only to avoid their population explosion in the Mekong Delta – the Rice Bowl of Vietnam but also to support healthy skin. What a great antioxidant meat source!
Though the rat meat, slow-cooked in a flavorful mixture before being served over rice with and/or wine, is just a few dollars, it can rival anything you’ve tried at luxurious restaurants on your Vietnam food tour.
Vietnamese people in the Mekong Delta have been catching rats as they damage the crops, yet, more importantly, they enjoy rats as a source of white meat protein. It is not exaggerating to say that children grow up eating it, especially during the rice harvest when the number of rodent reaches its peak while adults enjoy boozing with roasted rat meat as a snack.
When is the best time to rat meat in Vietnam?
Rat season in the Mekong Delta
The rat season is right after the last rice crop in a year in Vietnam. The time of the 6th and 7th lunar months are when farmers are busy catching rats. So, if you want to get the best flavor of this delicacy, plan your trip to Vietnam at that time of a year.
Where to find the best rat meat in the Mekong Delta?
- Xeo Quyt Restaurant – Hamlet 4, My Hiep Commune, Cao Lanh City, Dong Thap Province – Opening hours: 10.00.A.M. – 10.00.P.M. – Price range: VND 50,000 – 220,000;
- Hai Dong Restaurant – Vo Truong Toan Street, Ward 1, Cao Lanh City, Dong Thap Province – Opening hours: 3.00.P.M. – 0.00.A.M. – Price range: VND 30,000 – 150,000.
Don’t wait until you’ve returned from your Mekong Delta tour, browsed through your photos, and realized that you’ve added one more “what if” into your list of hundred ones as you did not try roasted rat meat. Give it a try, then you will definitely take a liking to one of the strangest dishes in Vietnam.