The white belly, soft and fat tadpoles braised with bamboo is a cuisine that not so many have the guts to enjoy.
The Muong people in West of Thanh Hoa for a long time has the custom of eating tadpoles (in the local language is Bubu or Baubau). From Lunar June to November, these people usually go to the forests in the early morning or the late afternoon that catch tadpoles. During these hours, the forests are quite and the water streams are gentle, and the tadpoles are usually hovering on small rocks to find food.
The mountain tadpoles show up a lot during the rainy season, with the size of a finger, unlike the delta tadpoles which are much smaller. Tadpoles are cooked into many different dishes such as fried, fried, fried, cooked, baked, warehouse… but the most popular is the tadpoles braised bamboo.
Many people from the lowland who come to visit the Muong are usually invited to enjoy this special dish of them. They believe that the tadpoles are even fresher than many herbs and vegetables.
They will clean the tadpoles, and use a sharp knife to tap on the bellies to pull out the inside, rinse and then drain them. The fresh bamboo is fried until it is cooked. Then they pour the tadpoles and the bamboo in together, and re-boiled them again. After that, they put on the surface some onion, cilantro, laksa. The dish is served with rice.
Many visitors usually terrified with this dish when they were first had it. If you have the courage to taste it, you will detect many very special flavors: sweetness and fat inside, bitterness from the jungle bamboo and the bold broth.
Coming to the Muong’s living area in Thanh Hoa during the tadpole season, you don’t be afraid to try this strong and flavorful dish and along with the strong wine from the hosts. If you like it, you can also buy in the markets in Thanh Hanh District, where the Vo Am Stream streams down from the Cuc Phuong National Forest or the border market at Na Meo with the price from 40 to 50, 000 VND.
Along with the dish, coming to the west of Thanh Hoa, you can also have the chance to enjoy other cuisines of the mountains such as fried caterpillar with bamboo, grilled mice, bitter soup, bitter bamboo rolls, or jungle frogs.