braised fish in viet namFor every single Vietnamese, either good or bad high school student, none of us will forget this character - Chí Phèo from the same-name story written by an eminent master of short stories - Nam Cao, back to 1940s. Chí Phèo would be a fictional character who lived a real village named Vũ Đại in North of Vietnam and by somehow the unique fish stew in clay pot was mentioned in that story as a signature speciality from that northern village, and now became a special flavour from North during Tết to people living in Saigon or at least to me, who is curious to taste all fish foods.

famous novel in vietnam          
 Without knowing how good is the fish stew, but I order due to my memory for our Chí Phèo…I won't tell you the story of our character - Chí Phèo, either he's a 100% fictional or based-on-true person, but Chí Phèo's destiny is considered as the refection of the real bitter life of the poor peasants in the countryside of North Vietnam in early 20th century. His strong will to live, his desire to love really touched us, that's why his image remained unforgettable in our memory.Back to our fish stew in clay pot from Vũ Đại village where Chí Phèo used to live is a dish for the poor, I guess, but the taste, the way people prepare is far from my imagination.

delicious food in vietnam

             Stew fish is my all-time favourite dish, but the fish stew in a Northern way is very different…
I never expect and hope there is no any exaggeration but look at how people prepare…everything surprises me: from how they select the clay pot with special lid to the wood, from the variety of ingredients, spices to the length of time they stew. The main ingredient is the black carp - one of four famous domestic fishes and has been cultivated in aquaculture in China for over a thousand years.

famous food in vietnam              The fish is stewed for 15 hours in this clay pot on the special wood's fire…The fish stew is so delicious, richly tasty, perfectly seasoned, not too salty, not too sweet, not spicy, full flavour of galangal root, almost no watery in contrast to what we see in some fish stew in South. As it has been cooked for 15 hours so all bones are edible, but the most remarkable thing for me is the smell of smoke. To me, this smell is indescribable, it reminds the countryside's flavour in the old time, very hard to experience it now while living in the big city.

vietnam traditional food          
Following the instructions on the package, I did add a bit of water and heat it for a few minutes... 
I learn that the fish stewed in different stocks: pork stock, freshwater crab stock mixed with some lemon extract, marinade with different spices such as galangal root, ginger, a traditional recipe.

choose food in vietnam         
    The fish is so soft, it's difficult for me to get a whole piece from the pot...

           I love when all bones are edible as I hate so much if some bones stuck in the throat...


             The fish stew served with hot steamed rice is good enough for me either for lunch or diner! 

 These day the fish stew already became a good sale product from that old village but thanks to that living in Saigon, I can taste not only the dish but also the feelings, the atmosphere that our character used to live in and I'm able to refresh my memory for our character image.    


There is several video clips about this dish on Youtube, I just select this clip for your reference. Enjoy the video!

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Cơ sở Chế biến Cá kho gia truyền làng Vũ Đại - Trần Luận
Số GPĐKKD: 06D002581 Cấp ngày 12/11/2014 tại Phòng TCKH - UBND Huyện Lý Nhân, Tỉnh Hà Nam- Chủ cơ sở: Trần Bá Luận
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