Eel soup is a renowned delicacy in Nghe An Province, known for its firm texture and delightful combination of sweetness and richness. Many people are captivated by the unique and delicious taste of this local specialty.
Cooking eel soup is simple, but it requires careful selection of ingredients and meticulous preparation. Skilled cooks typically choose eels caught in the fields, which are considered a rare find and a true delicacy for food enthusiasts.
Properly handling the eel is crucial, as it requires experienced hands to remove the slime and prevent any fishy aftertaste. After thorough cleaning and boiling, the cook separates the eel flesh from the bones. The flesh is then stir-fried with onions, turmeric, chili, ground pepper, and cashew nut oil.
As for the broth, most cooks simmer the eel heads and tails together with chicken, beef, and pork bones to achieve a sweet and flavorful base. The broth is simmered for approximately three to four hours before additional seasonings are added.
A bowl of Nghe An eel soup boasts a distinctively pungent flavor that entices diners, highlighted by the vibrant golden hue of turmeric, the vibrant green of onions, and the fiery red of chilies. Diners who savor this dish will delight in the tender texture of the eel flesh, which absorbs all the aromatic flavors of the spices.
Eel soup is best enjoyed with banh mi, a Vietnamese baguette. Additionally, locals often pair it with steamed rice rolls and rice crackers, enhancing the overall flavor profile of the dish.