Can Tho specialties

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Mắm đùm (Steamed ground salted fish) – a unique dish of the Western region
Date: 28/09/2016

Mắm (salted fish) has long been considered a specialty of the South of Vietnam. However, every house, every restaurant has their own creative ways of cooking; and Chả đùm (steamed ground meat patty) of Can Tho is such a unique dish.

Mắm đùm might be a variation from "chả đùm". The ways it is made and is served are like meat patties, salted fish is the only difference as the main ingredient.

To cook Mắm đùm, first of all it must be a very delicious, very aromatic kind of salted fish, preferably finely minced salted gourami fish or salted Siamese mud carp. Besides, to make an excellent quality dish, it must have lean pork with eggs, mung bean vermicelli and black fungus combined with salted fish.

After preparing the ingredients and raw materials, add onion, chopped garlic, pepper (or green pepper) into a mixture. Though the dish is called salted fish, very few salted fish is used but flavors instead. Thus those who abstain from eating meat still can enjoy this delicious dish.

Those who like salted fish can adjust the amount of salted fish.

It is interesting that before steaming, the folk chefs spread pig's omental fat inside a coconut shell before adding the mixture.

Then, press the surface by hands to make it flat and tidy before steaming for about 45 minutes.

Salted Siamese mud carp, main ingredient of Mắm đùm – Photo: Hoài Vũ

Mắm đùm is steamed in a coconut shell – Photo: Hoài Vũ

After being cooked, let it cool down. Then use a big plate to turn the coconut shell upside down, the batch of salted fish will get loose and fall on the disc, the bottom will be facing up and is covered by an eye-catching layer of omental fat.

Before eating, people garnish the dish with some coriander stalks and chili, it is excited just when staring at.

The dish is tasty itself, which is not salty nor vapid so that we do not need to use sauce. The most interesting thing is that this dish is attractive with available garden vegetables, do not need to buy.

In the countryside, there are full of vegetables such as black currant tree, fig sprout, skunkvine, cynometra, creek premna, spiral ginger, water hyacinth prout, Ming Aralia... so housewives can find more kinds of vegetables to add more flavours to the dish.

According to folklore and traditional medicine, each kind of garden vegetables is a medicine, for example, creek premna is the treatment of hypotension, acrid fig leaves prevent diarrhea, sour cynometra helps reduce heat ...

All blend to create the perfect flavor for this rustic dish.

Mắm đùm has been steamed – Photo: Hoài Vũ

Source: Tuoi Tre Online - Translated by Ngoc Diep

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