Village barbeque a flavour that is hard to reproduce
As any serious barbeque person is concerned every step taken to barbeque something results in a different taste. When you find a technique that works you tend to stay with it as to change anything is to change the resulting taste.
In Vietnam there are thousands of ways to prepare barbeque and on that are the thousands of ways it is done in each village or household. To most people back in Canada you taste one or two versions that the restaurant you go to prefers to make and sell. Of course in Canada the barbeque is done normally over a gas fired barbeque that leaves its own signature taste on the meat. Even though the demands of a busy restaurant in Vancouver dictate the use of natural gas, the best flavour results from the techniques that have not changed much since they were perfected years ago in simple family homes in places like where we are staying.
|Ready for cooking|
The pork we are using is butchered daily as such is a bit tougher than what we get at home; then marinated with a grated root (in the same family as ginger) and mixture containing fish sauce.
The fire and what it is fueled with is the next flavour enhancer, dried corn cobs and wood charcoal are used to cook the skewered meat. Both are traditional ways to cook and you see corn cobs drying all over the village.
As you can see my wife prefers to wear plastic gloves like she does in the restaurant.
Once the fire dies away and there is a good supply of hot coals the cooking can commence. The meat skewer is stuck into a freshly cut piece of bamboo stalk; which is used as it allows the skewer to be stuck in it and it will not burn. There it is carefully watched as the meat can burn quickly if allowed to be close to the fire too long as the grated root catches fire quickly.
The result is crunchy on the outside with a delightful taste that is a combination of spicing and technique. I am sure the corn leaves a flavour note but without a comparison it is hard to tell what part of the flavour comes from the corn. The meat is tougher than ours so I end each meal flossing and brushing my teeth but if I was as skilled as the locals I would just need to use the bamboo tooth picks they have.
Some of the other items we had with the meal
|Rice noodle in clumps|
|Had to add one of the soup cooking|