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Friday, July 19, 2024

A signature hotpot in the Mekong Delta

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Linh (cirrhinus jullieni) fish and dien dien (Egyptian riverhemp or Sesbania sesban) flowers are omnipresent in the Mekong Delta during the flooding season. The hotpot incorporates the fish and the flowers is such a dish having a special rustic taste found in this land of rivers.

Have a try and chances are you won’t forget the special taste brought by the combination of linh fishes and dien dien flowers in the hotpot. Aside from the two main ingredients, minced garlics, fish sauce, coconut water, cooking oil and basic spices like sugar, chilies, peppers, etc. also help increase flavor of the specialty.

Fresh linh fishes are cleaned using salt and then cured with spices. Marinated fishes should be preserved in a refrigerator so that their freshness can be maintained and the spices can permeate through the fishes.

The broth is from coconut water seasoned with fish sauce, sugar and tamarind juice. Then, add fried garlics, ngo gai

(Eryngium foetidum) and some sliced chilies to the boiled broth. Finally, add the fresh linh fishes and dien dien flowers to the hotpot. If the fish and flowers are kept too long in the boiled broth, they can become overdone and too soft. That is why diners should enjoy them about a minute after they are dipped in the hotpot.

This hot dish is often served with rice or rice vermicelli and a small bowl of dipping sauce which is fish sauce with minced chilies.

By Lam Nhu

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