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‘Goi la’: An interesting twist on the ‘spring roll’ in Kon Tum Province

Every day, in the afternoon and late evening, Tran Cao Van Street in downtown Kon Tum Province becomes crowded with foodies who come to taste ‘goi la’, a savoury dish which features fresh green leaves, pork, shrimp and sauce.

‘Goi cuon’ (spring roll) is a popular dish in Vietnam, and ‘goi la’ is an interesting twist on it. The main ingredients of the dish include green leaves, pork belly, sautéed shrimp, shredded pork skin, salt, chilli and pepper. People in Kon Tum can eat ‘goi la’ every day but the amount of green leaves changes up to the season of the year.

Goi la, interesting twist, spring roll, Kon Tum Province, fresh green leaves, popular dish, harmonious combination, indigenous leaves

It is said that if you haven’t tasted ‘goi la’, you haven’t visited Kon Tum yet.

In the dry season, there are 30 to 40 different kinds of leaves which can be featured in the dish. However, in the rainy season when plants grow quickly, the feast includes up to 60 or even 70 different kinds of leaves.

‘Goi la’ features familiar vegetables and herbs like cabbage, lettuce, basil and spring onion along with lots of rare native plants which can only be recognised by the locals. Some varieties of leaves are hard to find in the market, so locals have to head to the forest to collect them.

The soul of ‘goi la’ is the saffron-coloured sauce, which is made of brewers’ grains cooked with dried shrimp, diced pork belly, and fermented rice. The resulting mixture is then cooked into a kind of thick saffron paste.

Unlike other kinds of Vietnamese spring roll, ‘goi la’ doesn’t include rice paper to wrap all the ingredients. Instead, foodies use leaves to roll it up. First, they should place a big leaf, such as a cai (cabbage) leaf, in their palm and shape it into a funnel, then top it up with green leaves, some chops of pork belly, sautéed shrimp, and a small slice of green chilli, before rolling or wrapping them all up. Then they dip the ‘goi la’ in the thick sauce and enjoy.

Goi la, interesting twist, spring roll, Kon Tum Province, fresh green leaves, popular dish, harmonious combination, indigenous leaves

As many varieties of the leaves used are medicinal herbs, ‘goi la’ is regarded as a good cure for health.

The dish leaves a harmonious combination between the sweetness of the pork and shrimp, the sourness of the tasty sauce, the spicy chilli, and the distinguished taste of the indigenous leaves.

People say that if you haven’t tasted ‘goi la’, you haven’t visited Kon Tum yet.

As many varieties of the leaves used are medicinal herbs, ‘goi la’ is regarded as a good cure for health.

A portion of ‘goi la’ for 3-4 people costs only VND 100,000 – VND 200,000 (US$4.3 – US$8.6).

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Source: NDO

Goi la, interesting twist, spring roll, Kon Tum Province, fresh green leaves, popular dish, harmonious combination, indigenous leaves
 
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