Nom Hoa Chuoi (Banana blossom salad) once a popular dish in rural parts of the country, is now a specialty of Vietnam cuisine.
It is a special experience when being exposed to the explosion of different flavors and amazing textural contrasts of banana blossom salad.
The cooking process begins with the tough, outer layers of the banana blossom peeled off and discarded. Banana blossom is crunchy with a subtle, slightly floral fragrance.
Next, slice it into fine julienne strips; soak it into large bowl of cold water and white vinegar or lemon juice to prevent it from browning.
Then sliced boiled pig ears or boiled shredded chicken breast is prepared and let to cool. Sour star fruits are sliced thinly, combined with bean sprouts, banana blossom, sliced pig ear, mint, and cilantro.
To make the dressing, sugar and vinegar, along with garlic, lemongrass, chili, lime juice and fish sauce are mixed together.
When the dish is almost complete, the salad is placed into a banana blossom bowl, tossed finely with the dressing and topped with chopped roasted peanuts and fried shallots. It looks more like an artistic work than an edible dish.
One must enjoy every bite and make the most of the subtle flavor of herbs, the crispiness of banana blossom, and pig ear, the chewy and tender taste of chicken, the nutty flavor of roasted peanut and the delicate combination of the seasoning.