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Located in the far north of Vietnam, Ha Giang province has long become a favorite destination for tourists. Not only possessing spectacular landscape, Ha Giang also attracts tourists with its wide variety of unique dishes.
Coming to Ha Giang, it would be amiss not to mention mouse meat, a unique delicacy of the La Chi ethnic minority group in Phung Village of Hoang Su Phi rural district in Ha Giang province. Mouse meat is not to everyone’s palate, but the La Chi have found ways to make this unique protein into various delicate dishes.
|Roasted mouse meat is amongst the many unique dishes created by the La Chi, an ethnic minority group in Vietnam / Poliva|
Mouse meat is an essential offering in the La Chi’s religious ceremonies. It also plays an important role in the physical and spiritual life of this ethnic minority group.
To the La Chi, mouse meat is an indispensable component in any ceremonies, whether it is ancestral ceremony, new harvest season ceremony, ceremony to honor the spirit of the rice plant, ceremony to honor the spirit of forests, mountains and rivers, ceremony to catch evil spirits, ceremony to build the altar, or even wedding ceremonies.
|The La Chi ethnic minority group / Dangcongsan.vn|
The mouse has been a part of the La Chi’s life for thousands of years, and thus become their important source of nourishment. If tourists in Hoang Su Phi ask locals about renowned food from the region, they will hear about the La Chi’s mouse meat, in addition to Thang Co and corn wine of the H’Mong ethnic minority group and fermented pork of the Nung ethnic minority group.
In the rice harvesting season, the men from the La Chi ethnic group often trap and catch mice on the rice fields as mice become abundant. When the rice season is over, the La Chi continues to catch the mice that migrate from the rice field to hide in the forest.
|Hoang Su Phi rice terraces / VietSense Travel|
Mouse meat is made into a wide array of dishes, but roasted and dried mouse meat are the two most popular ones.
After catching the mice, the La Chi soaks them in hot water, clean the fur and cook in rice straw until golden brown. Then, they remove the internal organs, clean the inside, and mix mouse meat with salt, cardamon, wild pepper and other seasonings.
|Fermented pork, a specialty of the Nung ethnic minority group in Hoang Su Phi / Baohagiang.vn|
In the rice harvesting season, the source of mouse is usually abundant. If they can’t consume all the mice they catch, the La Chi makes dried mouse meat to consume at a later time. The mice are prepared in the same way and with the same seasonings, then let dried over open stove. The food is ready when the mouse meat turns hard like a wood log. Dried mouse meat can be stored through out the year and served at any moments.
Mouse meat is a delicious dish and a unique creation of the La Chi ethnic minority group. If coming to Ha Giang province, do not forget to try this specialty!
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