Solo Garlic – A delicacy spice in Vietnamese Cuisine
Solo garlic, also known as single clove garlic, monobulb garlic, single bulb garlic, or pearl garlic, is a type of garlic that its bulb has only one clove. It is nicked name “lonely garlic” (Vietnamese: tỏi cô đơn) in Vietnam because only one clove of the original bulb is developed while growing. Monobulb garlic has the flavor of the garlic clove but is somewhat milder and slightly perfumed. The garlic is more likely to grown in barren soils.
In Vietnam, single bulb garlic is mainly cultivated in two places: Lý Sơn island in Quảng Ngãi province and in Phan Rang – Tháp Chàm city, of Ninh Thuận province. There are also sing clove garlic products from other places including import ones but the garlic from these two areas are highly prized and sold for very high prices (almost 10 times more expensive than common garlic), especially the Lý Sơn solo garlic.
In culinary uses, solo garlic is used as a spice just the same as common garlic. Young solo garlic bulb can be be used as a vegetable mostly in stir fry dishes. There are also some dishes that utilize solo garlic for some medicinal boosts like: steamed squabs with solo garlic, sautéed goat meat with solo garlic,… So garlic may also be “pickled” or “incubated” to become black garlic, a way to amplify its medicinal benefits.