Grilled bitten-by-ants beef is a special dish served in Tam Dao, a mountainous town near Hanoi. Together with the stunning scenes, the place is home to many tasty dish and grilled bitten-by-ants beef is the most outstanding one that you should never miss in your trip to Tam Dao.
The recipe to grilled beef for the dish is so simple, just the same as most of the other grilled dish but the secret is about the preprocess. Fresh beef that is still warm will be hung in front of an ant net to lure the ants come for food. The ants will cut tiny pieces of the beef to bring to their net and to do this the insects have to secrete special liquid to soften the beef and the liquid is what the cook waits for as it adds flavor to the beef.
However, not every ant nets are chosen, local cooks only choose the nets on trees as they are clean. After deciding where to hang the fresh beef they literally poke the net so ants come out, they sense the heat and smell from fresh meet and will do a great job of preprocessing. It is said that the hotter the beef is, the more violently the ants bite and the stronger the flavor of the dish is.
The cook can make the dish multi-flavor by letting the beef bitten by different pieces of ants. Different pieces eat different food so the liquid they secrete has different flavor and it affects the flavor of the beef. For example, the black ants produce pungent scent, the red ants produce sour scent, other pieces produce sweetness or spice. Gourmets can tell the difference apart very well.
After that, beef will be washed in diluted brine, dried and then grilled to medium-rare. The cook have to turn the beef over so the heat cooks it evenly. A standard grilled bitten-by-ant beef is medium-rare with the typical pink, beef is then sliced and decorated on plates ready for serving eaters.
The beef will be served with special dipping sauce and local herbs. Eaters pick a slice of beef, roll it with herbs and dip into the vicous sauce made from corn and soy beans with sugar and juliened ginger. Herbs are usually sour star fruit, green banana and other local herbs.
Enjoying the dish eaters will sense an interesting flavor combined by the scents of dipping sauce, herbs, ants’ liquid. And the dish could be more than delicious when it’s enjoyed in the cold weather and fresh air of Tam Dao. Therefore, if you have opportunities to visit the foggy town on the mount, don’t forget to refresh your appetite with this unique dish.
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