Any gourmet worth his salt knows that side-dishes are crucial additions to most meals, and some of them are so tasty that they are as important, if not more so, than the main dish.
A great example of this is the salted ca phao (white, round eggplant), which makes a meal much more enjoyable for many people.
The secret to making this dish is how to retain the white colour and crispiness of the ca phao after being salted.
Cooks have to choose fresh and white vegetables and then dry them under a light sun for four hours, before soaking them in warm salt water in a clay jar, and covering them with a round bamboo lattice.
A heavy stone is placed on the jar to press the lattice down, to prevent the pickled eggplants from turning brown, and to keep them crispy. The jar has to be kept in a clean and cool place for 5-7 days before the pickle can be consumed.
Apart from pickled eggplant, there are many dishes made with vegetables, such as salad ca phao, fried ca phao with beef, ca phao brine with soya sauce and even some ca phao medicine.