Traveling the charming Cham Island by canoe, just 25 minutes from Hoi An Ancient Quarter, you absolutely fall in love with the « pristine » beaches and local specialties.
Being known as a peaceful island, Cu Lao Cham attracts its visitors with melodious songs of the sea waves, smooth white sand stretching over a large area, and the pristine blue water. It promises to create unforgettable experiences for those who set foot in here. Moreover, the local seafood which you rarely find at seafood restaurants in the city surely satisfies your appetite for food.
Cua Da (Cave Crabs)
The cave crab is one of the « must-try » foods during your journey to Cham Island. As the name would suggest, this kind of crab lives in caves in the mountain. In contrast with sea crabs, their food is grass and dew. Therefore, their meat is sweet, tasteful, and fragrant.
According to the local residents in the island, cave crabs are washed carefully, then processed to give a better taste. The most popular dishes made from this crab are grilled cave crab and beer- steamed crab. Or, if you want to change your taste, you can fry it with salt and tamarind. If the crabs are grilled on charcoal, the meat will be fresh and fragrant. The locals said that cave crabs are a powerful medicine which makes them extraordinarily pleasant after tasting them.
Eating these tasteful dishes amid the fresh sea breezes gives them a better taste. Don’t miss a chance to enjoy this « king seafood of Cu Lao Cham unless you will be regretful after leaving it.
Muc Mot Nang (half - dried Squid)
The half-dried squids in Cu Lao Cham are processed in a special recipe. Specifically, the squids are dried a half to exclude their tinged smell and to ensure that the outside is dry but the inside soft and fresh. Therefore, when you taste this « mouth-watering » dish, it remains fresh, sweet and soft. There are a variety of squids to process half-dried squids, but the most popular one is the long and large squid. Noticeably, to ensure the best taste of this dish, the squids are required to be fresh and dried under the strong sun.
To make the tasteful and fragrant half dried squid, they must grill it carefully on the charcoal gas so that it is neither raw nor overcooked. When the squids turn to the dark yellow and release the fragrance, you can taste them right away. Bear in mind, to enjoy its best taste, you should eat them with chilly sauce or a tasteful homemade sauce made from fish sauce, lemon, chilly, garlic, and sugar.
It such a wonderful experience to enjoy the fresh abalones which have just been caught on the beach. Abalone is actually rare species of shellfish, named differently.
These shellfishes often cling to coral reefs in high salinity water, so it is difficult to detect them. To catch abalones, the experienced fishermen have to dive deeply into the sea and make a significant effort to separate them from the coral reefs. Moreover, thanks to high nutrient values, it is one of the most favorite dishes of tourists.
The abalones which have just been caught from the sea just need to be washed out the sand to cook so that the meat is soft, tasteful and fragrant. It is processed into a variety tasteful dishes such as boiled abalone, steamed abalone, and fried abalone depending on the taste of customers.
Banh It La Gai (Vietnamese thorn leaf cake recipe)
Banh Gai has been a famous specialty of Hoi An, in general, and Cham Island, in particular for a long time. Therefore, it is an « unwritten » rule that tourists will enjoy and buy it as a souvenir for family and friends when visiting this amazing place.
Oc Vu Nang (Kind of shellfish)
Perhaps, tourists have not been familiar to Oc Nu Vang, a new specialty of Cham Island. It is in the shape of a pyramid, with a small « knob » on the top, a gray-black outer layer, and a sparkling inner layer. They are often processed into a boiled dish accompanied by a tasted sauce made of chilly and lemon. In addition, grilled shellfish on the charcoal gas and shellfish salad are worth mentioning.
Wild vegetables On Cham Island
Having flavors of herbal medicine and growing at the foot of the mountain, wild vegetables offer various types. The simple boiled wild vegetable is highly preferred by both tourists and local residents.
It’s wonderful to each seafood salads with raw vegetables with. It gives a better taste for these dishes. They are also used to make soups with shrimp or minced meat. Moreover, they are dried to served as herbal teas with the function of detoxification for the body.
In addition to wild vegetables, tourists should give « Rau Dang » (bitter vegetable) a try. As the name would suggest, this kind of vegetable is bitter. It is often dried with garlic and onion to keep it natural tastes. Interestingly, almost all tourists have « crush » on this dish.
As the extra compensation for the low-quality meat and « unimpressive » appearance, bird’s nest is a one of the most valuable foods and medicine, called with different names. It has long been confirmed by the scientists that the salanganes build nests by their saliva.
The new yolk is pinkish-white, soft and tough but it’s quickly frozen and turned white. Bird's nest soup is a high-grade product with high nutrient values