muong khuong chili sauce in Lao Cai

Mường Khương hot sauce – a delicacy condiment in northwestern Vietnam

Mường Khương is the name of a district of Lào Cai province in mountainous northwestern Vietnam. The main ingredient of this hot sauce is a bird’s eye chilli cultivar cultivated in the region. This chilli is closely related to the bird’s eye chilli in nearby Hà Giang province which is sold at high prices. The chili plant is believed to be fertilized with chicken manure to achieve the high level of spiciness. That’s why this haot sauce is much hotter than common chilli sauce in Vietnam which is made from caynne pepper. The Scoville heat scale of cayenne pepper is 50,000–100,000 while that of bird’s eye chili is 50,000–100,000 SHUs.

muong khuong chilli peppers
Muong khuong chilli peppers

According to the producer, other ingredients in the condiment are garlic, dried cinnamon barks, “dổi” seeds (spicy seeds from a native Mechilia plant named Michelia tonkinensis), tsaoko cardamom seeds (Vietnamese: thảo quả) , salt and local corn liquor.

Food dipped in Muong Khuong hot sauce
Food dipped in Muong Khuong hot sauce

The recipe is reported as: For 30 kg of fresh chillis, use 100 s dill seeds, 50 g dổi seeds, 3 kg peeled garlic, 500 ml corn liquor, 3 kg salt, 50 cinnamon, 50 g tsaoko cardamon, and 5 liter of cooled boiled water. The local residents will ferment the ingredients for about 2 months before bottling.

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