Top 10 expensive dishes in Vietnam
In Vietnam, Dong Tao chicken, Anh Vu fish, Emperor crabs or chia voi fish (Proteracanthus sarissophorus), are food for the rich only.
1. Dong Tao chicken
Dong Tao or Dong Cao chicken is an endemic and rare chicken species of Vietnam. The most outstanding feature of species are the biglegs, which create value for the species. The chicken can weigh up to 4,5kg and more.
The prices of Dong Tao chicken are expensive, about VND1-VND1.5 million ($50-$70)per kilo.
2. Nine-spur chicken
This kind of chicken has been known as a rare breed of Vietnam. According to legend, chickens with nine spurs were only for the king. The nine-spur chicken is also mentioned in the legend about Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh. Theprice of chicken with nine spurs is many times higher than that of normal chicken.
A special feature of this species is not only delicious meat but spiritual meaning. Vietnamese people believe that those who eat nine-spur chicken in the first meal of the new lunar year will have good luck and prosperity in the new year.
Before the lunar New Year or Tet holiday, the prices for nine-spur chicken can be several million dong per kilo. There are only purebred nine-spur chickens. However, some people still accept cross-bred chickens with 5, 6, 7 or 8 spurs.
The price for chickens with 5-6 spurs is VND400,000-VND500,000 ($20-$25) per kilo. It is VND900,000-VND1 million ($40-$50) per kilo for the chickens with 7 spurs, VND2-3 million ($100-$150) per kilo for chickens with 8 spurs and up to VND10 million ($500) for a pair of chickens with 9 spurs.
3. Anh Vu fish (Semilabeo notabilis)
Anh vu was previously offered for the king for good luck, especially in the New Year. Not as expensive as su vang fish, anh vu fish is also priced several million VND per kilo. Some people choose anh vu fish as a New Year gift.
This species lives in the Central Highlands. People believe that eating anh vu fish can cure diseases and is good for the kidney.
The price for Anh Vu fish is based on the weight.
The fish from 2kg or less is priced VND1.4 million ($70) per kilo and VND1.6 million ($80) per kilo for the fish weighing from 5kg and more.
If the value of the Dong Tao chicken or the nine-spur chicken is based on the legs, the mouth is the decisive factor for the value of Anh Vu fish.
This fish only eat algae and live in pure water so people think that Anh Vu fish symbolize “luxury”.
The best feature of this species is the white and delicious meat, more delicious than any kind of fresh-water fish.
4. Chia voi fish
The name of the fish chia voi (lime-pot) is based on the shape of its mouth, which looks like a lime-pot.
The fish is as long as a big eel, with red skin.
The adult fish can be 1m long and weigh about 1kg. Currently there is no consistent information on the origin of this species.
However, this species is only found in Nha Be River.
The fish is also used to treat some diseases.
5. Peanut worms (Sipunculus nudus)
Sipunculus nudus is a species of unsegmented marine worm, also known as peanut worms. The body of the adult worm is around 15 centimetres in length but can reach up to 25 cm in some cases.
The worm is commonly found on subtidal zones of sandy shores to seabeds 900 metres in depth in temperate or tropical waters. The worm hides in sand burrows which it makes by itself during the day and may extend its tentacles out of the burrow to feed at night. Its diet consists of plant or animal tissue fragments and any surrounding sand it may ingest with it.
In Vietnam, Sipunculus nudus is used to cook the Vietnamese well-known pho in stock (made by boiling it or shrimp that is molting and cow bone with some spice: cinnamon, sweet fennel and ginger), S. nudus is also considered nourishing food helping recover one's health (with good care and nutrition) to serve for royal family in the past.
Previously, the price for 1kg of Sipunculus nudus was equivalent to that of 1/10 tael of gold.
6. Ngan (Austriella corrugate)
Ngan is a bit like clams but the prices are dozens of times higher than clams, about VND600,000-VND800,000 ($30-$40) per kilo.
Ngan is said to have a high level of nutrition, appropriate to foster health.
Ngan is a specialty of Quang Ninh Province.
7. Eurasian coot
The Eurasian coot (Fulica atra), also known as coot, is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae. It is found in Europe, Asia, Australia and parts of Africa.
As the migratory birds from the north and also in the group of specialties for the king, the price of this bird is very high.
Currently, an Eurasian coot of about 500gr, bred at farms, is priced VND900,000 ($45).
If the birds are caught in the wild, the price will be much higher.
8. Clawed lobster
The clawed lobster has long bodies with muscular tails, and live in crevices or burrows on the sea floor. Three of their five pairs of legs have claws, including the first pair, which are usually much larger than the others. Highly prized as seafood, lobsters are economically important, and are often one of the most profitable commodities in coastal areas they populate.
The price for 1kg of clawed lobster is VND3 million ($150).
9. Shark fins
Shark fin soup
In the past, shark fin was only for the king but now it is available in luxury restaurants.
The price for a small bowl of shark fin soup is VND1.5 million ($70).
10. King crab
King crabs are a super-family of crab-like decapod crustaceans chiefly found in cold seas. Because of their large size and the taste of their meat, many species are widely caught and sold as food, the most common being the red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus.
At supermarkets in Hanoi, an imported King crab weighing about 2kg is sold for VND5 million ($250).
Some restaurants in Hanoi prepare dishes from King crabs, at the price of VND3.5 million ($170) per kilo.