The Mekong Delta, the farthest area of Vietnam and at the downstream of Mekong River, is a flooded world of floating markets. Thus, it is no surprise that floating markets are very popular here. They offer a wider abundance of fresh produce than wet markets, often at a lower price and give you a chance to immerse yourself in the natural wilderness. Especially, it is a good introduction to the multi-ethnic face of the Mekong Delta with the very best traditional and ethnic dishes.
This is why a lot of not only Vietnamese but also foreign travelers do their groceries there on a daily basis and on their Mekong Delta tour. If food is one of the many reasons why you are so fond of the floating market tour, so what are you waiting? Discover which are the best foods in the Mekong Delta and decide which one to eat!
Fresh tropical fruits
Fresh fruit in the Mekong Delta
Specializing in locally grown produce and fruits, the floating markets like Cai Rang, Cai Be, Nga Nam, or Nga Bay are the suppliers of choice for the whole region. The markets stock a fantastic variety of fresh tropical fruits such as coconut, jackfruit, durian, mangoes, watermelon, grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, green grapefruits, bananas, pineapples, pomelo, and longans. As you might know, the longer any fruit or vegetable is picked and goes from orchards, gardens, or farms to table, the more vitamins are lost along the way. So, what can be better than offered a tray of delicious local fruits right where they are grown, especially on a hot day?
Imagine sipping on a refreshing coconut drink and enjoying your own punnet of delicious and ripe fruit (some kinds are served with a spicy salt condiment) as you slowly glide along the river. Such an amazing way to get closer to nature, helping yourselves learn where your food comes from as well as supporting the lovely local farmers in the Mekong Delta. Can’t get any more relaxing than that!
Hủ tiếu (Southern Vietnamese clear rice noodle soup)
Hu tieu in floating markets
Apart from selling piles of fruits, vegetables, and other local produce on bustling clusters of boats to take home, these bustling, friendly markets also have a great choice of casual stalls to eat at, fresher and more reasonably priced than most of the surrounding restaurants. They are also a good introduction to the multi-ethnic face of the Mekong Delta.
The cheapest way to fill your tummy on your floating market food tour is always a bowl of hu tieu. Pop into one of the best boats selling rice noodle soup and order a bowl of the Mekong Delta’s specialty for around VND 15,000. Cooked with a medium temperature, hủ tiếu is a delicious, fragrant, and yummy soup, dense with stretchy rice noodles and topped with succulent locally farmed shrimp, sliced lean meat, ground lean meat, and meatballs, etc. Just imagining slurping down a bowl of piping hot noodles decorated with Vietnamese onion, coriander and cabbage can make you hungry!
Bún nước lèo (Fermented fish soup with vermicelli rice noodle)
What to eat in floating markets in the Mekong Delta?
Because of different methods of preparation and use of materials and ingredients, there are over a thousand types of noodle soups from all over Vietnam with local characteristics.
Made from slowly boiled fish stock and mắm cá linh or mắm cá sặc (fermented fish sauce), bún nước lèo – a noodle dish with Khmer origins – is famous for its very strong aroma or smell.
Along with the noodles and broth, bún nước lèo cannot be perfect without a few different types of pickled fish along with a huge collection of seafood like fresh fish and whole shrimp, roasted pork, pork crackling as well as a heap of fresh herbs, shredded banana blossom, chives, eggplant, and crunchy soybeans, arranged on top.
Bánh canh (soup cake)
Fresh and delicious products are essential for creating the best Mekong Delta cuisine, and what better place to find them than in the floating markets? Made of rice flour, broad and white in color, and typically chewy, bánh canh is typical of Southern Vietnamese cuisine and has gradually spread to other regions throughout our country. For an even more rewarding, authentic Mekong Delta experience, don’t miss to try soup cake!
One of the greatest ways to dive into a destination and most charming aspects of taking a floating market tour in the Mekong Delta is the free time that you have to simply enjoy the traditional food. However, when you are in this mighty region in Southern Vietnam, it might be difficult to decide what to eat without spending a fortune. Well, you can find the solution to your problems following this guide to the best food to try before leaving the Mekong Delta’s floating markets!