Ben Tre specialties beckon epicures


Fish-paste hotpot

Photo by Nguyen Vo.

Photo by Nguyen Vo.

This is made with a typical Mekong Delta fish-paste broth. The savory hotpot includes southerners’ favorite goby fish, octopus, beef meatballs and others, and a variety of vegetables like water lily roots, banana flowers, knotgrass, and sesban flowers.

A top place to enjoy this hotpot is the restaurant at 293D Nguyen Thi Dinh Street in Ben Tre Town, the provincial capital. It costs around VND200,000 ($8.7).

Broken Rice

Photo by Nguyen Truong An.

Photo by Nguyen Truong An.

Made from broken rice grains, broken rice is a popular dish in the south. Served with grilled pork ribs or chicken thighs, pickles and sweet and sour fish sauce for dipping, broken rice might guarantee a full meal without breaking the bank.

Some recommended places in Ben Tre Town are Com Tam Muoi, Com Tam Hien, Com Tam 9 Trieu, Com Tam Chuyen Ben Tre. A full plate costs VND20,000 – 35,000 ($1.5).

Coconut water custard cake

Photo by Nguyen Vo.

Photo by Nguyen Vo.

After some delicious food, tourists can savor Ben Tre’s sweets for dessert at the Ba Beo stall on Hung Vuong Street, where the signature dish is the coconut water custard cake. The soft cake is served with a thick sauce made from coconut water. Ben Tre is a coconut tree growing hub.

The stall also has many other desserts like sweet water-fern cake and sweet dessert soup. But one should visit the stall before 3-4 p.m. since the desserts sell out rapidly. The price of a serving is VND3,000 to VND10,000 ($0.4).

Rice noodle soup

Photo by Huynh Duyen.

Photo by Huynh Duyen.

A bowl of banh canh bot xat is served with slices of rice flour, duck meat and duck blood pudding and with a thick soup not found at any other place. Along with the dish ginger-ground fish sauce is served for dipping the meat.

You could find the dish at a few stalls in Lac Hong Market and at 141A Truong Dinh Street, 173 Dong Khoi Avenue, and it costs VND15,000 to VND30,000 ($1.3).

Grilled banana with coconut dip

Photo by Hoang Mai.

Photo by Hoang Mai.

Enjoyed by Ben Tre natives both at home and outside, this snack can be found at many street vendors’. The banana is peeled off, split into two, quickly charcoal-grilled, put into a small bag and smacked slightly, and grilled again until golden. It is then served with sweet coconut-water sauce.

Nguyen Vo, a tourist from Ho Chi Minh City, about 85 kilometers from Ben Tre, said: “Ben Tre has many tasty specialities at cheap prices. It’s suitable for one-day trips.”



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