Published: 31 December 2021
The "Co la" (food displayed on banana leaves) is one of the characteristics of the culinary culture of the Muong in general and the Muong in Hoa Binh in particular.
A traditional tray of food of Muong people in Hoa Binh
To make a tray of food “Co la”, first of all, you need to prepare a tray to arrange the food, the tray is usually made of wood with a round shape, symbolizing the roundness and fullness. Today, for convenience, people can replace it with aluminum trays or bamboo trays, but no matter what material is used, the indispensable element is a banana leaf top. The selected banana leaves are usually green, wiped clean, heated through the fire until soft, fragrant and then presented to arrange food.
Food in the tray is mainly pork, the type of pig that is raised naturally, without using weight gain food, so the meat is firm and very delicious. When processed, it is usually made into three main dishes: grilled, boiled and steamed. Grilled dishes are usually meat with fat and lean, marinated with spices and then grilled, when eaten, it has a greasy taste but not fat. Boiled and steamed dishes usually include the remains of the pig, which, when presented, is sliced a little bit each and presented in a circular shape. Some families can make more rolls with grilled pomelo.
To reduce boredom, the tray of food is always alternately displayed with vegetable dishes, such as herbs, a few boiled bamboo shoots, vegetables and the indispensable dish is one or two bows of "Loong soup"- Soup cooked from thinly sliced young banana trees, cooked with stew water, very sweet and not fat.
A bowl of banana tree soup
Finally, in order to make the dish more delicious, it is indispensable to have the "salt of doi seeds" seasoning. Doi seeds after being baked, pounded and mixed with salt. Doi seed salt has a very fragrant smell, making the dishes in the leaf tray more delicious and flavorful.
Doi seeds are both a spice and a precious medicine
"Co La" is a very special feature in the cuisine of the Muong people, when traveling to Hoa Binh, do not forget to enjoy to feel all the features of Hoa Binh.