Selected from the freshest herring, the famous salad of the same name in Phu Quoc makes diners remember once and for all because of its coolness, sweetness and softness, and aroma.
Phu Quoc is not only the most famous tourist destination in the country but also attracts visitors with its rich and attractive cuisine with a variety of delicious dishes, including herring salad.
Previously, herring salad was a rustic dish of Phu Quoc fishermen. Because they do not have the conditions to process and want to enjoy the fresh and sweet taste of sea fish, they create their own salad and use it at home. Gradually, herring salad became a local specialty, known and loved by many tourists.
According to experienced people in Phu Quoc, herring here is available all year round. However, the time from July to August of the lunar calendar, when the southwest wind blows inland, is the largest herring crop. At this time, the fish is delicious, the meat is fatty, sweet and fragrant, and the price is also “softer”.
To catch herring, fishermen have to travel by boat, dragging the basket boat far from the shore in the early morning. When about 10km from the shore, the fishermen moved into the basket boat and dropped the net to surround the whole area. After a few hours, when the fish was caught in the net, the fisherman collected the net and brought the boat full of fresh fish to shore.
Coming to Phu Quoc, visitors can buy fresh herring or ready-to-eat foods from this fish such as herring fillets, canned fish, … at large seafood markets such as Duong Dong market, An Thoi market or Ham Ninh market. Depending on the time, herring is sold at prices ranging from 170,000 – 200,000 VND/kg.
Anh Viet – owner of a restaurant in TT. Indochina, Phu Quoc said, herring salad costs from 120,000 VND / serving for 2-3 people, with raw vegetables, cucumber, rice paper rolls and dipping sauce. In particular, unlike Nam O herring salad (Da Nang), this famous Phu Quoc salad has its own way of processing with a delicious taste that is difficult to mix.
To prepare an attractive Phu Quoc salad, the chef must choose the herring that has just been caught from the sea, still fresh, the same size, about two fingers.
Herring after buying is cleaned, scaled, cut off the head, gutted, boneless, then washed with water. People here often apply a small secret of adding a little salt and vinegar when washing fish to remove the fishy smell.
After cleaning, people cut the fish into thin slices to eat. In addition to the main ingredient is fish, this salad is also processed with other ingredients such as sliced onion, red onion, chili and grated coconut, seasoning to suit diners’ taste. Mix fish and ingredients with sour sauce made from vinegar raised with ripe guava. Then season with a little salt and sugar to taste sweet and sour.
In addition to the salad that requires delicate processing, the thick dipping sauce is also considered the soul of the dish. Locals use the same kind of Phu Quoc fish sauce to make dipping sauce, combine with lemon, sugar, garlic, and chili and sprinkle with crushed roasted peanuts.
To enjoy this dish, diners take rice paper, arrange raw vegetables on top, add a piece of herring salad that has been soaked in spices. Then gently roll the salad, cover with thick dipping sauce and then put it in your mouth to enjoy. This way of eating helps to reduce the fishy taste of the fish and harmonize the ingredients inside.
The soft, chewy rice paper blends with the cool taste of vegetables, the soft and sweet taste of herring and the aroma of grated coconut and roasted peanuts that make diners remember once and for all.
Herring salad is a dish to enjoy directly, without going through any cooking process, so it still retains the freshness and flavor of the sea.
At some restaurants in Phu Quoc, diners when eating herring salad will be served with a glass of sweet and bitter sim wine. The island’s wine not only helps to balance the flavor of the dish, but is also considered a folk remedy that can reduce bone pain and digestive diseases.
Photo: Internet (vinlove.net)