The Co Tu ethnic people living atop the Truong Son Mountain in Quang Nam Province often prepare the “Doan Ket” (Solidarity) salad, combining nearly 10 ingredients, to celebrate family reunions
The Co Tu people’s salad is unique as it includes a wide range of ingredients, including the young papaya, which is finely shredded before being soaked in water and salt.
Son thuc (Homalomena pendula) and a local herb called be mon tim further elevate the dish. They are found in the forests on the Truong Son Mountain. Son thuc is also a herbal medicine used to treat joints and bone diseases.
Pineapples and cucumbers are among the ingredients of the specialty. Son thuc, be mon tim, pineapples and cucumbers are all cut into slices. Then, pork skin, pork belly and shrimp are boiled and also cut into thin slices. To enhance the flavor of the salad, local cooks often add some Vietnamese coriander, roasted peanuts and shredded eggs.
In a big bowl, all the ingredients are combined, some fish sauce, lemon juice, chilis and garlic are added, black pepper and monosodium glutamate are sprinkled, and everything is tossed well. The salad is then ready to be served.
With its colorful ingredients—the green of the son thuc and Vietnamese coriander, the purple of the be mon tim, the yellow of the pineapple and the red of the chili—the salad is a feast to the eyes and the stomach. With its range of tastes from the sweetness and light sourness to the taste of the fat, the salad is also a treat to the senses.