Local flavor

Leaf salad, a signature dish in Kon Tum

Visiting Kon Tum province, a windy and sunny area in the Central Highlands, no one can resist the attraction of leaf salad. 

Visiting Kon Tum province, a windy and sunny area in the Central Highlands, no one can resist the attraction of leaf salad. The signature dish is described as a jungle feast which has been recognized on the list of the top 10 Vietnamese specialties of Asian cuisine by the Asian Record Organization.

As suggested by its name, the most important ingredients to make the salad are a variety of fresh leaves such as mustard greens, perilla, basil, spring onions, bitter gourd, skunk vine, guava and a variety of forest leaves. The dish is served with sliced boiled pork, pork rind and boiled shrimp.

The secret of the salad is the dipping sauce cooked using the traditional recipe of Kon Tum locals. It is made from the remains derived from an alcohol making process to create an aromatic and greasy sauce. This dipping sauce is totally suited for the salad.


A piece of leaf salad looks like a forest flower. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP


A tray of leaf salad includes various leaves. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP


The beautiful host guides diners how to properly roll a leaf salad. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

To enjoy this delicious dish, shape the outer leaf into a funnel and then add some other leaves, pork rind, boiled pork and shrimp in the middle with dipping sauce sprinkled on the top. After taking a bite, one will be able to taste the spiciness, sweetness, sourness and saltiness unleashed in their mouth all at the same time.

Visitors can stop by Tran Cao Van street where there are many restaurants offering the signature leaf salad.

Pork rind mixed with ground galangal, boiled pork and boiled shrimp create the distinctive flavor for the dish. At just 300,000 - 400,000 dong (13 - 17 US dollars), you have enough leaf salad for six to eight diners.

By Thanh Hoa Translated by Nguyen Tuoi

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