One of rice's many incarnations in Vietnamese cuisine
One of rice's many incarnations in Vietnamese cuisine
Photo by Javier Cabral

Increasing Saltiness of Mekong Delta Spelling Doom for Vietnam's Rice Growers--Thanks, Global Warming!

Last week, I sung the praises of Dat Thanh, the Little Saigon dive most famous for its nem nuong cuon. They're absolutely amazing, but much better is their com tam, the famous Viet dish that saves broken rice grains and elevates them to high cuisine. Seriously: go there for that rice--best in Little Saigon.

And get it while you can, along with all the other great rice-based dishes in Vietnamese cuisine, from ché to bánh hoi and just a simple, filling mound of white rice decorated with hot sauce. Salt levels are rising in the Mekong Delta, the rice basket of Vietnam and most of Southeast Asia, which means rice production (along with other agriculture) is scheduled to shrink and worsen in quality. Fun!

The Guardian broke the story yesterday, which has yet to receive much play. The story also predicts the displacement of thousands, if not millions of Vietnamese, in the next 50 years. Given that Orange County can boast of the largest population of Vietnamese in the world outside Vietnam, that'll probably mean more Viets will come into the county, which is always a welcome proposition. Too bad that if that happens, it would've been at the expense of their generations-long livelihood.

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