Do not feel disadvantaged when the flood season rises, on the contrary, people in the Mekong River region feel fortunate because every year the floating water season comes to irrigate silt for fields and attractive fish and shrimp.
The higher the water, the more spirit fish. However, only early season spirit fish is really the most delicious and sweet. The fish is only as small as the tip of a chopstick, so people call it young spirit fish or milk spirit fish. The spirit fish has a ring taste, a little bitter but very delicious. Unlike other types of fish, the smaller the spirit fish, the sweeter the meat and because it is not large, the bones are soft, the belly has greasy fat.
The specialty of the Southwestern people is Linh fish sauce. It is easy to eat spirit fish paste. Make the fish clean and then put it in a compost basin. For every 1 part salt 6 parts of fish, aged within 45 days is the most delicious. Spirit fish paste has a characteristic delicious flavor, served with astringent bananas, or raw vegetables to ensure that the rice cooker is eaten. We brewed fish sauce together, Uncle Hai packed a large jar for my family to save to bring to Saigon to eat gradually. Spirit fish is not few, but only this season is delicious. This is my whole family's favorite. Fish paste, hot pot or distilled with eggs all bring an irresistible deliciousness.
Lingua Kho Lat Fish is the most popular savory dish in my hometown - Kien Giang. Almost every house this season must have a pan of spirit fish, whether it is unsalted, pepper or ginger stock. The fish is cleaned and drained and put in a saucepan, pour in coconut water, add fish sauce and store over low heat until the water is almost empty. Then, add the left tamarind and then turn off the burner. The special feature of this dish lies in the fact that it must be tamarind fruit stock and then when eating, put it on a plate, tamarind beam to eat with fish. A piece of rice, a piece of fish has a taste that melts in the mouth.
The second savory dish is no less feat Fried reishi fish. This dish I volunteered to help the family, prepared by myself from making fish to marinating and frying, and then laid out on a decorative plate. Unlike the rest of the fish, the spirit fish does not cut off the head or shave the scales, only hooks the pharynx and then squeezes the intestines to wash. Because the fish is small, it takes quite time to make, but the finished product is irresistibly delicious. This dish rolls raw vegetable rice paper dipped in fish sauce, garlic, chili is delicious.
The last dish is also the most anticipated dish of the floating water season - Crazy Fir Fish Hotpot. You have to go to the West, paddle the canoe to the field, cut off the cotton to catch fish to see how nature has given people delicious food. Picking crazy cotton must be light-handed, it should be picked in the early morning, when the fresh flower is freshly opened. Because towards noon, the more crazy cotton blooms, it no longer retains its fragrance.
The broth of spirit fish hotpot in my opinion is not much different from sour soup. Instead of using ready-made lemon or tamarind, my uncle used young tamarind leaves to create a delicate acidity, different from us Saigonese who often cook. Chop a fresh coconut poured into a hot pot to cook, add a few tablespoons of delicious fish sauce. Garlic is fragrant, add some fat, cilantro and cook to a simmer. The way to eat is simple, wherever you eat, pour the spirit fish lightly into it because the fish is very tender and cooks quickly. Eat while dipping the classic cotton to keep the crunch and sweetness from the cotton.
A country meal is like that, not fussy about money. From the available ingredients given by nature, Westerners have prepared many diverse and rich dishes. Come to the floating water season to experience the wonders of nature for yourself, feel the rustic, authentic nature of the people here and enjoy unique dishes with your relatives and family!
Writer: My Dieu