Top 100 Vietnam gift specials 2020 - 2021: roasted sea almond seed in Con Dao (Ba Ria - Vung Tau)

Thursday - 18/03/2021 09:23
Sea almond trees in Con Dao are a kind of forest ones with big leaves and fruits, from which Con Dao people collect their fruits, dry them, and in the free time, while not doing housework, they split the seeds to make roasted seeds...
The roasted almond seed is a specialty dish in the district of Con Dao, which is made from the raw materials of the almond seed with the roasting method. There are two types of almond seed jam: sweet and salty roasted almond seed. In Vietnamese, it is called jam, but actually, it is roasted with salt or sugar, like salt-roasted or sugar-roasted peanuts. 
People collect each fallen one caused by birds, keep it dry for about four to five times in the sunshine, then use a knife to break the skin to separate the seed. It takes a few hours to split and separate the fruits, using a toothpick to take the seeds out only a few hundred grams of seed. Then roast them skillfully to get evenly plump almond seeds. Therefore, visitors coming here should enjoy both flavors to fully enjoy the quintessential flavors of this exotic yet rustic dish.
After being separated, the seeds are dark brown like wood, each layer of ivory white inside folded together like each tree's life cycle when people bite. Roasted almond seeds have a pulpy taste and are crunchy when placed in the mouth.

Come to Con Dao to see how the life of the people here connects with the Indian almond tree. The tree grows in straight lines along the coastal roads and is present in every corner of the street, there are ancient trees th two or three people cannot hug.

Con Dao salt-roasted almond seed is not salty, only more tastes than fresh almond seeds, and almost retains its original pulp taste. The type of roasted one with sugar is quite sweet and does not retain the original flavor of the almond seed. Salt roasted almond seeds look fat, brownish skin, when bitting, you can see that the ivory-white layers of the seeds are curled tightly together, very regular. This has a sweet taste of sugar or a salty taste of salt mixed with the pulp and fat of the almond seed at the tip of the tongue.

The fruit is fully ripe in the summer, around July and August, people harvest a lot to make roasted seeds. The selling price of roasted almond seed is about VND 45,000 for a sweet bottle of about 200 grams and VND 55,000 for a salt one of the same weight. In the off-season, the weather is harsh, the roasted almond seed is sometimes up to 500,000 VND - 600,000 /kg, still not enough to sell to visitors.
Coming here, the people of Con Dao often tell stories of this Indian almond tree attached to the lives of the prisoners in exile in the land of Con Dao. In the cold winter, or hot summer, the fallen almond leaves are collected by prisoners to hide, line on the stone foundation of the prison to lie down and to withstand the inclement weather. The fruit and the young almond leaves are sometimes used to appease their hunger. The fruit is also used instead of paper to write communication between fellow inmates or to copy their poems. The season of an almond tree changing leaves was marked by the prisoners as passing through hell on earth in the middle of the sea.

The roasted almond seed is used as a gift from the remote areas of Con Dao to the relatives and friends of tourists, a gift associated with the touching and meaningful story of the island here. Con Dao people create this unique product to help retain a new culinary imprint for those who have just arrived here, at the same time also honors the diversity of traditional culinary culture mixing with the modern and creation of Vietnamese people.
Link: bang-knife-ba-ria-vung-tau

Source: Xuan Da; Translated by: My Phuong:

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