Mắm Tôm (Vietnamese Shrimp Sauce)
After collecting small shrimp from the ocean, people wash it and crush it. Dry it up for few days before add a special enzyme from a leaf. Keep it for few months for fermented before use. It takes a few months to make it and you can also keep it for few months in dry condition.
Mam Tom is widen eaten in Vietnamese daily meals, most popular in Northern part of Vietnam. Vietnamese eat it with tofu, noodles, pork or dog meat… The easiest way to recognize it is its smell. It will be very hard to smell for people who not familiar with it. It’s stinky!
Vietnamese people believe that Mam Tom helps them to avoid ghost or evil, keeping it at home brings luck and safe for family (trust me: not for kissing :)).
Mam Tom can be considered to Vegemite from Australia (I can’t stand it!), many people like it and hate it. I still suggest you try once or two, it can be found anywhere in Hanoi sidewalk. Trying Mam Tom is one of 2 things you must do to get impressed by locals: Eating Mam Tom and pronounce the word of ‘Ngon’ like locals. You will pass the test to join Vietnamese community then :)!
Sample of recipes for Bun Dau Mam Tom (Hanoian Specialty)
Ingredients (served for 4):
- Rice noodle (Bún): 1kg
- Tofu (Đậu phụ): 0,5kg
- Shrimp Sauce (Mắm Tôm): 0,1kg or a small canned box
- Chilly, lemon, sugar, lemon grass, oil, oregano
Process (20 minutes):
Deep fried tofu while fine slice chilly, lemon grass. Put Mam Tom into a bowl then add 2 spoon of sugar, some chilly and lemon grass. Squeeze lemon on and mix well. Lastly, add couple of spoon of hot oil. Served with noodles and fried tofu and oregano.