[Wanderlust Tips November issue] The golden silver-back Artocarpus with rosy flesh grown in Quang Binh is the most well-known across Vietnam. It not only can be served as fresh fruit but also cooked with many ingredients to create surprisingly perfect food.
The northeast monsoon rustles the tree leaves on the branches which are covered in sunrays. The shadow of the silver-back Artocarpus tree was so huge that no midday harsh sunlight could reach the village’s small path. Gathering to play under the tree’s shadow, bareheaded muddy children tried to use a rod to pick the ripe silver-back Artocarpus. After tasting the tartness of this fruit, they would put them into their T-shirts and take them home to their moms, who use the fruits to cook a delicious soup, despite that the fruit sap may stick to their clothes.
The most famous silver-back Artocarpus is the one grown in Quang Binh. The fruits with soft fuzz grow in small pretty clusters, have yellow peels and rosy flesh when they are ripe. In the traditional cooking method, people often crush silver-back Artocarpus in Vietnamese water spinach soup, or use it for the fish cooked with sauce to create the sourness, saltiness, and greasiness, which is suitable to eat with cooked rice. The sliced silver-back Artocarpus is placed at the bottom of the pot, then a layer of fish is put on it, and again a layer of silver-back Artocarpus on the fish. For the next step, people add spices including galangal, lemongrass, chili, pepper, and Vietnamese caramel sauce. Finally, a layer of silver-back Artocarpus is put on top. The water is poured into the pot; you cook until there is only a little water left in the pot, and you smell the fragrance of the fish rising in the air. Fish cooked with sauce and silver-back Artocarpus tastes best when it is served with hot cooked rice. With white aromatic soft cooked rice, a salty slice of fish, and the sour greasy silver-back Artocarpus full of fish taste, the dish is so delicious that it can only be compared to some of the best cuisine in the world.
Due to the love of silver-back Artocarpus, people create many dishes in which these fruits are used as an important ingredient, such as the sweet and sour sliced silver-back Artocarpus served with flat and brittle sliced pig ears, crystal-eyed catfish cooked with silver-back Artocarpus, or spare ribs cooked with silver-back Artocarpus, to name a few. Each dish has its own attractiveness, but all have a fresh cool flavour which features the sweet and sour taste of the silver-back Artocarpus which ripens in the golden sunshine.
The article featuring exclusive content contributed by LUK LAK VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT
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