The fermented fish hotpot can be described as a truly communal experience of the bountiful lands of the Southern region – for boisterous drinking sessions with friends and families, and for the indelible smell that can send a sharp sensory signal to nearby neighbors. Fermented henicorhynchus fish, fermented Snakeskin gourami, Egyptian riverhemp, and water lilies are the main ingredients to make the dish more and more mouth-watering.
Fermented fish paste is an indispensable ingredient of the Mekong Delta’s cuisine. When it comes to a delicious fermented fish hot pot, the broth must be mentioned. An attractive hot pot with fermented fish always has the sweet taste of hotpot with fresh ingredients served with raw vegetables. Normally, fermented fish is simmered from two types of fermented fish, which are henicorhynchus fish and Snakeskin gourami. When using water to cook fermented fish for natural sweetness, people usually boil fermented fish with bone broth and water coconut for natural sweetness. The fermented fish is simmered to melt the meat and bones, then filtered again to cook in a hot pot. A special feature of the fermented fish hot pot is that it should only be cooked with henicorhynchus fish and Snakeskin gourami to qualify for an attractive broth.
To reduce the characteristic smell of fermented fish, increase the aroma. People often stir-fry garlic, lemongrass, and chili with bacon until fragrant, then add filtered broth to cook. After boiling, season to taste. In addition, to make the smell of fish, the cook can add a few crushed lemongrass and eggplant, fragrant to create more sweetness for the dish. Moreover, it is indispensable for accompanying ingredients such as fish, snail, eel, squid, shrimp, and roasted pork to create an attractive fermented fish hot pot. Especially with the delicious taste of the fermented fish hotpot served with cotton balls, it will be more attractive because of the fatty taste of the fish. More points for a pot of fermented fish must mention the accompanying vegetables.
Indeed, when you enjoy a hot pot of fermented fish, the thing that impresses you the most besides the taste of the broth is the presentation of the vegetable plate, which looks very attractive with vegetables bearing the character of the river-land such as water lily, squash bananas, dragon beans, mustard greens and so on. Depending on the region, the vegetables are also more diverse and richer.
The fermented fish hotpot is one of the most popular dishes of the Mekong Delta. The pinnacle of the dish includes the fragrant aroma of the broth, the sweetness of fish, shrimp, squid, and the crispy taste of raw vegetables, blended together to create a typical dish of the Western region. This is also a dish that shows the talent and ingenuity in the cooking art of the Southern people, reflected in the decoration of the dish and in the way of eating through the color combination that attracts the eyes of diners. Therefore, when visiting the Mekong Delta, you should once experience this not-to-be-missed lẩu mắm aka fermented fish hotpot.
Source: Can Tho News – Translated by Hoang Dat