Thanks to the variety of ethnic minorities, Vietnam has so many kinds of ethnic foods. Therein, Thit trau gac bep – a special food of Thai ethnic people is not only popular in Son La but also in other provinces.
Thit trau gac bep (buffalo meat upstairs kitchen) is made by traditional method. In order to store food for the winter and holidays, Thai people always dry the meat for longer reservation. The buffalo meat must be chosen carefully, it’s often the filet or muscle meat at the shoulder or the back of healthy buffaloes. The meat is cut into larger slices approximately 15 cm in length, 8 cm in width and about 3 cm in thickness. Then, maker seasons them with salt, sugar, chili, lemon grass, garlic, ginger and indispensable La mac khen (a kind of forestry pepper). After being marinated for about 2 hours, the slices of meat are skewed with the sticks then hung upstairs the kitchen.
The buffalo meat is dried slowly by the smoke from the kitchen. It makes the outside color of the meat turn deeply brown while the inside still looks red and fresh. About 8 months or one year later, the sticks are taken down and thit trau gac bep is ready to eat.
Thai people usually make this dish to treat their guest or to use for special occasions. Before eating, dried buffalo meat is often boiled to make sure it’s done and softer to eat easily. The slice is usually torn apart then served with corn wine. The salty, sweet, spicy tastes combining with the smell of the smoke give you the most attractive feeling ever. Not only have a unique flavor, thit trau gac bep also has highly nutritional value.