Thang co, dried water buffalo meat, hand-carried piglet, black chicken which food do you think become the best dish in Sapa? None of them. Yeah, you heard it right, the best dish is not any flavorful delicacy but a veggie, “Mam da”.
Thank for the climate condition of Sapa, “Mam da” is a very exotic veggie that growth only in this upland, especially, on the high mountains, the higher the altitude is the better it tastes. By seeing that people can tell how rare it is, that’s the reason why tourist can’t see it being popularly in the market as others agriculture specialties. The best time to try a taste of this veggie is about November to March, so try to taste many delicious dishes with Mam da at least once. It’s no exaggeration to say that a Sapa tour is not successful without a taste of Mam da.
See: The best dish so far of the upland Sapa
This veggie is not only famous for its unique taste but also the medicinal advantages. For many people who have bone problems or back pain, it appears as a panacea. As a matter of fact, after conquered the Mont Fansipan, climbers supposed to treat themselves to this amazing food. It somehow magically works. Furthermore, if you taste a dish of Mam da in a boozy party, you will still sober as a judge.
Read: Eating as a gourmet vegan in Sapa
“Mam da” literally means “stone spouts” because of its weird appearance like a stone. Saying that but it’s not as hard as stone at all but in contrary it is cooked in no time. Then, how to cook this plant is also a remarkable problem. Cooking time too long will make it overcook, too much heat will ruin its flavor, then the key technique is to stir it nonstop until cooked.
The easiest way to taste the unique flavor of “Mam da” is a simple boil recipe. But remember 30 seconds in boiling water is enough. Not as fragrant or flavorful as others specialties but the impressive sweetness is marvelous. You can also enhance the flavor of this veggie by eating with fragrant fish sauce and hard-boiled egg.
But the signature dish is probably “Mam da” stir fried with meat like pork and beef but water buffalo is always the favorite ingredient. But for the best flavor, only used pork fat for this recipe instead of vegetable oil which will change the color and the flavor of this ingredient. If boiling cooking style make the sweetness of “Mam da” dissolve in water, this authentic taste will be absorbed completely in buffalo meat by stir frying. In addition, only using wood stove with Po mu (Fokienia) as firewood can bring the original fragrant of the veggie.
There is only one place that you can buy and eat Mam da in Sapa. It’s a small quarter near the Sapa Catholic Church. If you have a chance to visit the city of cloud Sapa, besides many delicious specialties you must taste the famous best dish “Mam da”.