Phu Yen tuna belly salad is listed as a hard-to-find delicacy, as some locals have never had a chance to enjoy the dish.
The tuna belly salad was concocted years ago by fishermen who caught tuna, processed it and enjoyed the dish on the boat. Nowadays, the dish has spread to many provinces through the Phu Yen locals who live far away from home.
The tuna belly salad is sour, sweet and spicy, so it is served as an appetizer to awaken the taste buds.
Phu Yen Province is considered an area with the most delicious and nutritious tuna. The chosen tuna belly must be bright pink to ensure specific sweetness and tenderness. Although it is of the same size and similar in color to pork belly, tuna belly is more delicious and not as chewy.
To get rid of the smell and clean the fish slime, the belly is soaked with warm water diluted with salt and then rinsed with warm water mixed with lemon juice (or vinegar). After the preliminary process, the belly is boiled and chopped into small pieces.
Cooked tuna belly is mixed with other ingredients such as green mangoes, shredded banana flower and star fruit, while fish sauce with chili is added to give the dish a characteristic flavor. Finally, the dish is topped with dried onions and roasted peanuts.
Tuna belly salad is served with raw vegetables such as perilla, basil, cinnamon and grilled sesame rice paper that goes perfectly with the sweetness of the tuna belly.