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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Unique delights of Nam O fish salad

By Tien Sa

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Immerse yourself in the culinary artistry of the Nam O fishing village, where tender and fresh fish takes center stage, complemented by the crisp sweetness of fresh vegetables, resulting in a remarkable gastronomic delight.

The birthplace of this extraordinary delicacy is the quaint coastal fishing village of Nam O, located around 10 kilometers from the heart of Danang. Various types of fish can be used to craft this dish, including anchovies, mackerel, and more. However, the preferred and most suitable choice is the sweet and firm-fleshed trich fish, scientifically known as Sardinella. These fish can be found year-round in the Nam O coastal region, freshly caught every day.

Mackerel fish is the top choice among chefs due to its naturally delicious sweetness, making it a perfect ingredient without any undesirable fishy taste. The fish is meticulously cleaned, with the removal of the head and intestines. Skilled hands then delicately separate the flesh from the bone and slice it into thin pieces. It is worth noting that the fish flesh should be thinly sliced to allow the seasonings to permeate evenly.

Nam O fish salad can be prepared in both dry and wet variations. For the dry version, fish fillets are marinated with vinegar and fresh juice, followed by gentle squeezing to remove excess liquid. These marinated fish fillets are then mixed with fiery spices like chili and ginger to eliminate any lingering fishy flavors. Additionally, powdered grilled rice is added to create an eye-catching texture, while roasted sesame seeds enhance the aromatic allure of the salad. The wet salad follows a similar preparation process, with fish fillets mixed with a broth derived from Nam O fish sauce. The seasoning includes ginger, garlic, chili, and sugar, culminating in a harmonious blend of flavors.

The fish broth, obtained from the marinated fish fillets, is boiled and combined with exquisite fish sauce from the Nam O fishing village, along with complementary seasonings and crushed roasted peanuts, resulting in a delectable dipping sauce for the salad. Nam O fish salad is typically served with grilled rice paper and an array of fresh vegetables.

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