Vũng Tàu is one of the many famous beaches in Vietnam. Literally translated, its name comes to mean Puddle of Boats. Its beaches are a hot spot for foreign travelers as well as Saigonians who's agenda is to seeking a little ocean breeze and, of course......... fresh seafood. Most of the the seafood consumed in Sai Gon as well as the south come mainly from the freshwaters of Mekong Delta. Vũng Tàu offers seafood from the ocean, all sorts of saltwater goodies that is not easily accessible elsewhere in Saigon or the South. After the fall of Saigon, Vũng Tàu became a popular hotspot for freedom seeking boats. People planning to escape the communist government often told their local authorites that they were going to Vũng Tàu for a holiday and then once there they would sneak on the boats and sail out to sea, putting their lives at stake in search of freedom.

It was not until a decade and a half ago that the Vietnamese government realize the potential of Vũng Tàu as a tourist destination. The began to give the beach side city a face-lift in hopes of attracting more visitors, espcially foreign visitors. The waters are blue, the sand is golden and the skies are always bright making conditions perfect to enjoy a few fresh crabs from the local waters. Their crabs are steamed and served with lime and salt and pepper to bring out their natural sweetness....how good it is!

Along shores of Vũng Tàu sits many great diners that offer local specialties.

My group stopped at Quán Cây Bàng. What to order...what to order? Local specialties include Canh Súng and Cá Đối. Nomatter which diner you decide upon you should be able to order these dishes as they're the trademark dishes of Vũng Tàu.

Canh Súng is the marriage of Canh Chua from the Mekong Delta and Canh Ngót from centeral Vietnam. The broth is the perfect balance between sweet, sour and savory, like canh chua. However, the veggies that go into it are celery and tomatoes like that of canh ngót. The fish used is of course a variety of saltwater fish. To top things off, lemongrass and preserved soybeans (tương hột) are added to give the soup its unique irresistible flavor.

Next up is Cá Đối Chiên Xù. Chiên Xù is a method of cooking fish where the fish is gutted but not scaled. The fish is then deep fried. This method results in a fish that is "puffy" in appearance. Chiên Xù is usually served with fresh herbs. The fish is wrapped in the herbs, dipped in fish sauce and enjoyed.... There is nothing special about the dish except for the fact that it's made with Cá Đối, a verity of saltwater fish that is avaliable in abundence in ....you guessed it, Vũng Tàu

Comments (10)

On 9:15 PM , SteamyKitchen said...

That soup looks delicious!

On 10:27 AM , Rasa Malaysia said...

Interesting way of cooking fish--gutted but not scaled. In Malaysia, there is a dish that is cooked this way, but the fish is stewed...and it goes so well with porridge, of course, you still have to remove the scale.

On 12:51 AM , Big Boys Oven said...

Those crabs are intense, so lovely so inviting, just like marrying them....lol

On 10:35 PM , Anonymous said...

Do you eat the scales of the fish???

On 2:55 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

some people do, but most people just scrape it off.

On 7:13 PM , Anonymous said...

The dish looks great. Reading this site from today back, so I noticed that you are in VN now for visit, or since been back from VN. With this dish, the side dish of salad that has been wash in tap water a worry for you when you had it? or would you just dip into pot first to eat? I would pick the latter.
I would love to read about your itinerary, going there in a month.


On 12:54 AM , hoangtam/tt said...

Hi Huy,

I actually had no worries about eating in VN. I ate as the locals did and nothing happened. I guess I have a pretty strong stomach. ;P

On 6:57 PM , Anonymous said...

Vung Tau was my birth city. It had changed dramatically since then. Lots of hotels and restaurants along the beach side.

It brings back lots of memories. Thanks for the pictures.


On 5:14 PM , Anonymous said...

hello HoàngTâm,
Wow, blog của Tâm đẹp quá đi thôi. ChơnNghiêm cũng ở Seattle nè. Và là đến chùa ViệtNam nhiều lần chắc có gặp qua HT rồi lúc chiên đậu hủ ở nhà bếp...và CN thì cũng có đến phụ nấu lúc trước vài lần, nay thì CN đến phụ bếp tại TV. Minh Chánh ở Renton.
CN đang nghiên cứu và học hỏi kinh nghiệm của HT. Và mong có ngày được nói chuyện với HT nhiều hơn.
CN rất phục tài nấu ăn của HT đó.

On 1:12 AM , hoangtam/tt said...

Hi ChơnNghiêm,

thì ra là người quen.....mà nói thiệt nha.....HT ngồi gảy đầu suy nghĩ mãi mà cũng chưa biết CN là ai vậy? Tại trên chùa lúc nào cũng bận nên HT cứ chú tâm vào công việc, ít khi để ý đến ai lắm.

anyways...HT rất vui khi CN ghé thâm ổ chuột của HT. Về kinh nghiệm để học hỏi thì...mình học hỏi từ nhau mà. HT cũng chẳng có tài giỏi gì đâu...chẳng quá chỉ là chó ngáp phải ruồi mà thôi. :D