The Western river region with mangroves and the coastal area make many interesting things. There are many rural materials processed into the excellent dishes. Maybe we do not need to come there to get the feelings on the beautiful river region. From the main dishes, they bring many emotions, especially the three-aspect-papaya salad.
“Ba khia” lives in the brackish water areas, especially most in the coastal areas of Bac Lieu, Ca Mau. It quite looks like the crab, but its legs are flat. Because its shell has three lines, it is called “ba khia” by the way of the Southern people. To catch many “ba khia”, we have to wait in Lunar October, when they are in the festival season. It has said to be the season but there are only three nights. The “ba khia” belongs to the crab relatives so their biological characteristics are the same as the crabs. They always live in the mangroves. On their shell, there are three shorted lines so they are called the “ba khia”. The “ba khia” is the omnivores but their favorite food is leaves.
The “ba khia” is chosen carefully, then soaked in salty water about two or three days and brought to process. In soaking them, to increase the dish’s sweet and delicious flavor, we add more spices such as salt, garlic, chili, sugar, etc soaked together with water.
After soaking completely, the “ba khia” is covered the spices thoroughly, being near cooked well, we begin to process. Before making salad, we process the young papaya. The next step is choosing a medium papaya without being too big, then chopping into fibers, if the papaya is a bit wilted, we soak it with cold water in one minute to make it be fresh and brittle.
Spices are used to process the dish including garlic, chili, sugar, peanut, ball tomato, and sauces, jiggery. The sauces include tamarind juice, limejuice.
Next, we put the “ba khia” and the entire well – prepared spices into faking each other. After faking, we mix with cabbage to increase the dish’s charming level.
The soaked and processed salad has the sweet flavor of the jiggery, the sour flavor of other sauces, the bitter taste of chili, etc especially the soaked “ba khia” pieces have the sweet, aromatic and crispy taste. Perhaps we feel more that the “ba khia” dish has an excellent salty flavor of the western river region.