Sapa tours – 5 best dishes from Cap Nach Pork that you should try
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Sapa tours always surprise tourists with unique types of food. One of them is the Cap Nach Pork. Cap Nach is an ordinary pig breed in Sapa Town. However, the way that it is raised is very special. Cap Nach pigs have to look for food and learn to protect themselves when they are very little.
Also, because they are not taken care as carefully as other pig breeds, one-year-old Cap Nach pigs are often very small. The highest weight they can get is about over 10 kilograms. Therefore, the locals usually carry them under their arms and bring them to the market. This action is called “cắp nách” in Vietnamese so it can explain the name of the pig breed.
Being raised in nature and having a chance to run, Cap Nach pork is extremely delicious. These are some of the most common food from this pork.
Roasted pig’s trotter (Đùi lợn nướng than hoa)
Roasted pig’s trotter
You need to try this dish when joining Sapa food tours. Trotter is usually the firmest and most flavorful part of a pig. Its skin is also quite thick, making the trotter crispy when being roasted. It is often marinated with exclusive spices from Sapa before being roasted on a charcoal stove. The pork after being cooked has a very attractive fragrant.
Try sipping a little wine from docynia indica and taking a bite of roasted pig’s trotter, you will feel nothing more cheery than that. Pig’s trotter in Sapa is the best when coming with fish sauce mixed with honey and clausena indica leaves or soy sauce.
Roasted whole pig (Lợn nướng nguyên con)
Roasted whole pig
This is a popular dish that you can see in the menus of all restaurants in Sapa. After being slaughtered, the pig will be stuffed with thin-top mushrooms, Jew’s ears, and spices. Then, cooks will apply a thick layer of honey on the pork skin. Finally, the pig is roasted on a charcoal stove until it is fully cooked.
The layer of honey outside will turn into a deep yellow, which can stimulate connoisseurs’ sense of taste. Taking the first bite, you will feel all of the pig’s skin, fat, and meat. The initial layer is its skin, which is rough but still crispy. The next one is the thin and a little greasy fat. And the last one is the meat, which is soft and juicy.
Pig bones cooked with bamboo shoots (Xương lợn xáo măng)
You will find a marvelous combination of two specialties in Vietnam’s Northwest region while trying this dish. They are Cap Nach pork and bamboo shoots. The locals in Sapa are truly culinary artists when transforming two simple types of food into a famous dish. Cap Nach pig bones cooked with bamboo shoots is a standard example for the exceptionality of Sapa cuisine.
The bones after being boiled will be fried with fish sauce and spices. Then, bamboo shoots will be added. When both of them start getting soft, they will be mixed with the broth made from the bones earlier. Cooks will simmer them for 2 to 3 hours until they are ready. Although it is quite a long time, the bamboo shoots do not get mushy. On the contrary, they are crispy and sweet-smelling.
Boiled Cap Nach pork (Lợn Cắp Nách luộc)
Boiled cap nach pork
Boiled Cap Nach Pork is probably the simplest dish among all of the others. The parts that are often used to make this food are the blade shoulders and hams. The processing method starts with cleaning the dirt on the roots of hair by lemon. Then, cooks will rinse the pork under the water and let it dry.
The next step is just boiling it. The pork when being entirely cooked is incredibly tender. Nevertheless, the element that turns it from good to excellent is the salt mixed with peppers coming with the pork. Although it sounds plain, the dish cannot be the same if you don’t find the right pepper. It must be the type that is directly ground and minced from wild peppercorn in Sapa. It smells good and tastes hot.
Roasted pork in bamboo tubes (Lợn nướng ống tre)
Roasted pork in bamboo tubes
Sapa group tours will be more complete after you try roasted pork in bamboo tubes. It represents the cuisine of a whole Northwest region in Vietnam. Instead of roasting an entire pig, the Cap Nach pork is shredded and marinated with citronellas, clausena indica seeds, wild peppers, and many other spices.
After that, it will be stuffed in bamboo tubes and roasted on a charcoal stove. When the tubes get blackened, it is when the pork is matured. The first thing that you can feel at the moment the tubes are opened is the smell. The harmony of wild spices and leaves makes such a wonderful odor that your mouth cannot stop watering.
Due to being roasted in bamboo tubes, the pork is tasted soft, strong, and less greasy than usual. This type of dish must come with hat doi salt (michelia tonkinesis) – a spice made by Sapa citizens. Only by that way can you sense all good flavors of Cap Nach pork and Sapa tours can be much more exciting.