Bac Lieu’s Three-striped Crab – Eat Best Food in Bac Lieu
Bac Lieu’s Three-striped Crab – Eat Best Food in Bac Lieu

The image of the Three-striped Crab (ba khia) is very familiar to the people of the Mekong Delta river region.  Previously, Three-striped Crab was only known for its fish sauce for the poor.  Today, the cuisine is more diverse, and the three aspects are processed into many delicious dishes to serve diners. Three-striped Crab is now a specialty, anyone who comes to the Mekong Delta wants to enjoy this characteristic taste of the river garden.  Three-striped Crab is ubiquitous in the brackish waters of the Mekong Delta, but gourmets say it is the best in Bac Lieu.

By Thomas Vietnam at | All Best Foods & Restaurants in Bac Lieu

1. Better to Know as a Food Lover

Find them: Bac Lieu city.

Best time: Dusk-Dawn

Don’t miss: Bac Lieu’s Three-striped Crab

Local’s pick: Bac Lieu’s Three-striped Crab restaurant

Tourist’s pick: Restaurant in Bac Lieu


Facts: In Bac lieu, the Three-striped Crab (ba khia) is both soft and crispy, yet full of flavor, with the typical flavor of specialty food.

2. Better to Know Bac Lieu’s Three-striped Crab

Bac Lieu is a province with quite flat terrain with wide caves, interlaced systems of rivers and canals. As a rich land, favored by nature, with favorable rain and wind, Bac Lieu has rich agricultural and aquatic resources. During the flood season, the aquatic products of Bac Lieu are the most abundant in which, to mention the three kinds of brackish water crabs that live in mangrove forests or estuaries. People call the Three-striped Crab because on its back there are 3 bricks like a slitting knife. The pork belly is firm, delicious, sweet, rich in nutrition.

In October, right on the occasion of the “meeting” of the Three-striped Crab, the Three-striped Crab come to the breeding season to gather in large numbers. At this time, the three-kid is especially delicious, the meat is firm, and it has vermilion bricks. The female three-knife is full of eggs, bricks are full of shells. In the middle of the night, the crabs crawled onto mangroves, mam trees… so people who need to work at the right time to increase the harvest. People go to catch Three-striped Crab at night, the delicious Three-striped Crab dish when it comes to diners is also imbued with the effort of the catcher. In the dark, in the mangrove forest, there are many mosquitoes, squeezing, rainy weather, people also have a hard time catching Ba Khia.  Understanding this, when enjoying a Ba Khia dish, we love the dish even more deliciously and it takes a lot of effort to catch it.

Ba Khia is now a daily dish of the people with many ways of processing. Farmers going to work in the field only need a few fishes to “beat” the whole pot of rice.  The other ways of processing crabs are very delicious and easy to eat, so many people who eat it once will remember it forever.  Westerners have a unique way of cooking, with a strong flavor of the river region, so Ba Khia is also easy to get into the hearts of diners.

3. Bac Lieu’s Three-striped Crab in Bac Lieu

Bac Lieu is most famous for its processing method of making Fermented Ba khia.  The distinctive and salty taste of fermented Ba Khia impresses many people. The way to make fermented ba khia is quite simple, but it takes a seasoned person to make delicious and standard Ba Khia sauce.

There are also a number of other ways to cook crabs such as boiling with coconut water, cooking a cooling soup for a hot summer meal… And no matter what form it is modified, the taste of Bac Lieu crabs also retains the delicious, rich, and the characteristic of Bac Lieu. This is still an invisible string “holding” the footsteps of diners returning to Bac Lieu. Coming to Bac Lieu, you must definitely enjoy the dishes from the Three-striped Crab to at least once enjoy the full flavor of this typical aquatic species.

4. How to Make Bac Lieu’s Three-striped Crab

Ingredients for making Fermented ba khia

1kg Ba khia

300g sugar

350g kumquat

1 pineapple

10 chili peppers

1 bulb of garlic

½ teaspoon MSG

Tools: Brass, bowl, blender, sieve

Tips for buying fresh and delicious Ba khia:

You should choose the ba khia that are still holding the egg to eat, it will be more fragrant and fleshy, should choose the small sized ones because there will be many red bricks that will be very fatty and soft to eat.

When you pick up the three halves, you try to break the paws of the three halves, if you find that the meat is full, it’s still fresh and delicious, and if it’s empty, it’s because it’s swollen, sick, and has little meat.

You should choose the time in the rainy season to buy three aspects for processing (about August-October of the lunar calendar).  Because this is the most delicious Ba Khia season.

How to make fermented ba khia

Step 1. Preliminary three-way processing

After purchasing, you soak it in warm water for about 5 minutes to remove the oily substances in it, then rinse it with water and then drain.

Next, you separate the three notches, the brick you put in a separate bowl. Remove the bibs and pointed tails from the Ba khia legs, and then separate the Ba khia parts into bite-sized pieces.  Do the same with the others.

Step 2. Prepare other ingredients

Pineapple you peeled and cut into medium pieces, then put it in a blender to puree. The ba khia you wash, cut it in half, then filter it through a sieve to remove the seeds and squeeze out the juice.  Peel your garlic and mince it.  Wash the peppers, remove the stalks, and chop finely.

Step 3. Make Mixing Water

You prepare the bowl and then add the juice and the pureed pineapple mixture with the minced garlic and chili.

Next, you add 300g of sugar, ½ teaspoon of monosodium glutamate and mix well for the mixture to blend together.

Step 4. Mix the fermented ba khia

You put the preliminarily processed third part in a bowl of water mixed with the previously separated part of the ba khia and then mix it well for the ba khia to absorb the spices.  Leave it on for 1-2 hours and you’ll be fine.

5. Pro tips:

Here are our tips for easing your mind (and stomach) around food-handling environments that you may not be used to.

Make sure the food is freshly cooked. If you’re eating hot street food, it’s always safest (not to mention more delicious) to eat food you can see being cooked to order.

Look for lines and busy stalls. Busy street food stalls are an indicator of popularity, and their high turnover rate means the food is never sitting out for hours and developing dreaded bacteria. Yes, long lines can be discouraging when you’re hungry after a full day of exploring, but it’s not worth the risk of grabbing precooked food from the empty spot next door.

Eat when the locals are eating. The last and most important element here is when to eat. You’re likely already on a weird eating schedule while you’re traveling, but it’s important to try and adjust to the eating times of where you are. A bowl of pho might be lunch for Americans, but it’s breakfast for the Vietnamese. This ensures that you’re eating freshly cooked food and that you can find the best and most popular places to eat.

If you can’t drink the water, then you can’t eat the salad. Most people get so hung up on not drinking the water or skipping ice in drinks that they don’t think about all of the other ways in which water is used in food service. Fruits and vegetables tend to be washed with tap water in most places, rather than the filtered water that locals drink—or sometimes it’s not washed at all. If you’re really craving some produce, try fruits you can peel or cooked veggies.

Trust your gut. If you’re unsure about the food or the way that it’s being prepared, then keep moving. Eating street food all over the world doesn’t make you an expert. Every stall and every country are different, and sometimes the rules can be harder to follow. When something doesn’t look, smell, or feel right, don’t eat it! Trust your judgment. Chances are that there’s another spot close by that’s making something more delicious.

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Can Tho: Co Ut’s Cong cakeUt Dzach Fine Rice VermicelliThanh Van Grilled Pork SausageCrab Noodle Soup At Floating MarketScorched Rice with Caramelized Fish Sauce7-Toi’s Duck Meat PancakeBanh Mi ThuyBanana Blossom SaladFried Spring RollsFresh Spring RollsFetal duck egg (balut)Honeycomb CakeMini Sticky Rice CakeCassava Silkworm CakeGrilled Banana Wrapped in Sticky RiceKhmer-style Bun Goi Da SoupEgg CoffeeCon Son Grilled Snakehead FishBun Mam – Fermented Fish Noodle SoupLau Mam – Fermented Fish HotpotGrilled Snails with PepperMagenta Sticky Rice CakeDuck cooked with Fermented TofuRice Noodle PizzaVegetarian Noodle SoupSnails Stuffed With Pork

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Chau Doc: Chau Doc Fish Noodle SoupSugar Palm FruitBasa Fish Hot PotMam (Fermented fish)Phu Huong Beef Noodle Soup, Broken Rice with Pork Chop, Long Xuyen Broken RiceNui Cam PancakeO Thum’s Chicken Grilled with Lime LeavesStir-fried Shrimp with Sesbania FlowerSweet & Sour Soup with Siamese Mud Carp Soup & Sesbania FlowerCaramelized & Braised CatfishGrilled Rice-field Rat with Salt and Chili

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Soc Trang: Pia CakeCong Cake (Banh Cong)Bun Nuoc Leo Soc Trang’s Noodle SoupSoc Trang’s Bun Goi Da SoupDuck Noodle Soup with black PepperCurry Noodle SoupGrilled Beef on TileKhmer-style Tube CakeKhmer-style Mung Bean Cake (Banh In)Dried Radish (Xa Bau)Stir-Fried Noodles with Seafood (Mi Sua)Soc Trang’s Green Rice Flakes

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Ben Tre: Phu Le Rice WineBen Tre’s Coconut CandyFlat BananaCoconut RiceSnail PancakeSea Snail with Coconut MilkCoconut WormYoung Coconut Salad with Shrimp & PorkSon Doc Puff Rice Paper

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Cai Be: Puffed Rice Cake

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Vinh Long: Elephant Ear Fish (fried giant gourami)

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in My Tho: Fried Sticky RiceSnakehead Fish Rice PorridgeHu Tieu My Tho (Noodle Soup)Coconut Banana Cake

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Tra Vinh: Macapuno CoconutBun Nuoc Leo Tra Vinh’s Noodle SoupTra Cuon’s Sticky Rice Cake

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Sadec: Sa Dec Noodle SoupSadec Crab HotpotLai Vung Spring RollsSa Giang Shrimp Puff PastryLai Vung Tangerine

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Bac Lieu: Spicy Beef Noodle SoupBac Lieu’s Three-striped CrabWhite Radish PiesBac Lieu Thick Noodles & Creamy Coconut MilkBon Bon Pickles

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Ca Mau: Banh tam ga cay (Silkworm rice cake with curried chicken)Grilled Vop clams with salt and pepperGrilled Mudskipper FishStone Crab Roast With SaltYoung Bee SaladNam Can’s CrabU Minh Forest’s HoneyU Minh’s Fermented Fish Hotpot

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Hau Giang: Cau Duc PineappleCai Tac’s Pork Organs PorridgeHau Giang’s Bronze Featherback Fish Cake

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Ha Tien: Herring Fish SaladSpider crab cake soupKen Noodle soupXoi Xiem (Siamese sticky rice)Steamed Noodle soupHa Tien Oyster porridge

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Rach Gia: Stir Noodle SoupKien Giang Fish Noodle Soup

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Con Dao: Bang nut jamVu Nang SnailRoasted Pork Bread (Banh Mi)Coconut Ice Cream

Must-Eat Foods & Restaurants in Phu Quoc: Phu Quoc Sim WinePhu Quoc PepperPhu Quoc fish sauce

Hopefully, the above tips will help you to come up with a great plan for your adventure in Mekong River Delta, Vietnam. Have a safe trip!

“Sleep less, travel more, respect more” – Thomas Vietnam – Local travel expert.

Thank you

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