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According to Vietnamnet, Phan Thi Thuan recently returned to Vietnam from Germany and visited her friend’s home in the central province of Quang Binh where she was invited to eat lau ca khoai (Bombay duck fish) hotpot.
The hotpot is one of Vietnam’s top 100 outstanding specialities announced by the Vietnam Records Organisation in 2017.
Thuan was lucky to visit the province during the season of Bombay duck fish, which runs from the ninth lunar month to the first lunar month of next year.
|The fish should be soaked with fish sauce, pepper, chilli and củ nén (small fragrant onion in the central region) for half an hour before cooking. — Photo cattour.vn|
“My mother in Hanoi has cooked us hundreds of traditional tasty dishes but this was the first time I enjoyed such a speciality,” Thuan said.
Her friend’s mother Nguyen Thi Ha said the most important step for the dish is choosing a fish which is fresh with a thick body.
“I often wake up very early in the morning to go to the beach to wait for fishermen to return from the high sea to buy the freshest fish sized from 15-18cm."
After being washed clean, each fish is cut into two parts, then soaked with spices such as salt, pepper, chilli and cu nen (a kind of small onion, locally known as hanh tam, available in the central region) which is cut into pieces, for half an hour before cooking.
|he hotpot is much more enjoyable when being eaten with young mustard greens, dills and basil. — Photo toplist.vn|
“This kind of onion has its own flavour that it helps the dish have a special taste compared with other onions in the north,” said Ha.
The ingredients for the hotpot’s broth include pork bones, which should be stewed for one hour before putting tomato, tamarind, sour starfruit, pickled mustard greens, sour bamboo and mushroom in, Tien Phong News reported.
Cooking Bombay duck fish hopot is quite simple, first cutting the fish into third or four parts (depends on the shape of fish). Spices to marinate fish are very simple, including salt, pepper or chili, especially ciboulettes can make a delicious meat. Then, you can cut the fish into third or four parts (depends on the shape of fish).
|A tray of khoai fish hotpot to be ready to serve family members at weekend. — Photo monngonmientrung.vn|
After preparing the fish, you have to prepare materials for hot pot such as tomatoes, star fruits, mushrooms, tamarind and pickles. Next, cut the bamboo shoots and put all of them into the hot pot. Wait in some minutes and you can add tomatoes, star fruits, mushrooms, tamarind and pickles.
It is getting more delicious if it is enjoyed with fish sauce. The delicious of this fish’s meat is perfect, so cooking it as simple as best. Be careful not to let the fish to be well cooked. You only add the fish in when the water is boiled. Once it is cooked you need to take the fish out on a plate and enjoy when it is still hot, Vietnam Local Guide reported.
|A tasty and delicious bombay duck (known as cá khoai or khoai fish) hotpot in Quang Binh. — Photo toplist.vn|
“Winter is approaching, so it would be a very good gift for my parents, brothers and sisters in Hanoi because they would be happy to enjoy this dish for the first time like me,” she said.
Ha said apart from hotpot, the fish can be cooked other dishes such as canh ca khoai rau can (soup with water dropwort), chao ca khoai (porridge) and canh chua ca khoai (sour soup).
Chef Pham Tuan Hai, a jury of the former Vietnam Master Chef, said he also likes the Bombay duck fish hotpot so much.
|Photo: Vietnam Local Guide|
“As the main chef of many restaurants across the country, I will bring the dish in our menu so as more people inside and outside Vietnam can enjoy it,” Hai said.
Herbalist Trinh Van Minh, from the Quang Binh Centre for Traditional Medicines, said lau ca khoai is very good for people with headaches and dizziness, as well as high blood pressure and hacking cough.
According to Vietnam News, Quang Binh is severely hot in the summer so local people often cook these dishes to cool down and treat ailments such as sore throat, cold and constipation, he said, adding that the Bombay duck fish porridge really helps weak patients, the elderly, and children with malnutrition.
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