“Cải Mèo” which is referred as a kind of cabbage stalk planted a lot in Sapa. This vegetable is not known well about its origin but we know about fact that Hmong people plant it a lot in high mountainous area and this is considered as their main vegetable in daily meals.
“Cải Mèo” belongs to field cabbage family which has dark green and the margin of leaf is round and curly make it seems like having thorn. There are pileus type and smooth type. Small and pileus “Cải Mèo” is more delicious than others. In the past, people often plant this kind to eat not for sale. So they do not pay attention much about caring it. They often throw the seed around the field, hill tribe and let it grow naturally and do not plant them in lines.
Cai Meo Sapa
Actually, “Cải Mèo” is one rare specialty, it is delicious and brittle. Because it is strictly chosen by the nature so it is very strong vitality and good growing and it can fight with the worm and illness very well. It is planted in many kinds of lands especially it can grow in low hill tribes and even low quality land.
When you come to Mong family, if they invite you for lunch or dinner, they only pull up some vegetable which are around stones cave or take some leaves so they have a fresh vegetable to serve guest.
In Sapa, “Cải Mèo” is cooked by local people in many ways: stir - fry, boil or eaten with hot pot. Normally, to be easiest, you only need to tear it into small one, put some ginger piece and water and boil them so you have a great soup. Because it is cool so it is suitable for the guest drinking wine. If you are more careful and skillful, you can mix “Cải Mèo” with small grinded chicken and out ginger, salt and some other ingredients so you can give your family an excellent dish with unique flavor.
Delicious dishes made from Cai Meo Sapa
The sweetness of chicken mixed with a bit bitterness from vegetable make people want to continue eating. “Cải Mèo” is more delicious if you stir - fry it with beef, especially, beef smoked loin. These a bit bitter, tough and brittle vegetable lines mixed with tasty and unique beef smoked loin can become a special dish for mountainous area food. Many people put “Cải Mèo” in the list to eat with hot pot. To be easy for eating, we should use small and young one, put them into the hotpot and enjoy the freshness, sweetness of vegetable. You should remember that if you cook any dishes, you should not use the knife, you should use your hand to cut vegetable. That can keep the taste of the vegetable.
The attraction of this vegetable is not only impressed by tourist when they come to Sapa but also, it is imported to many other places. At the current, many big supermarkets in Hanoi, such as 24h Supermarket is selling “Cải Mèo” as follow the program of Sapa which cooperated to buy and sell vegetable. Some locals also choose the good seed to help farmer plant and make it become a specialty in order to help them improve economic situation and overcome poverty.