Vietnamese people are known for their distinctive food culture, and this stinky crab noodle dish in Gia Lai Province is a prime example of how diverse Vietnamese food can be.
Tasty means stinky. Photo by Mr.True
Originating from the neighboring province of Binh Dinh where it was cooked as a simple family meal, the noodles have found their way into eateries in Gia Lai where they have become a mountain specialty.
The crab is pounded and then soaked in water. The water is then strained and left overnight, and this stinky crab water is used for the broth. Now you know where the smell comes from.
To make the broth sweet, people add boiled bamboo shoots and duck eggs.
A bowl features rice noodles, the distinguishing broth, crackling, fried pork skin and prawn crackers. As if the broth is not smelly enough, the soup is served with mam nem, a sauce made of fermented fish.
You can add nem (fermented pork rolls) and cha (bologna), and just like many other types of Vietnamese noodles, fresh vegetables.
If you are a spice fiend you're going to love this dish because locals recommend adding plenty of chili to balance the taste... and smell.
Either way, good luck giving it a go!