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Food & Drinks

Go back to Dam Chuon to taste the fish cake

Translated by Bing
This dish is combined from a rustic cake with a typical and nutritious fish of the Chuon lagoon in the ancient capital, bringing both strange and familiar flavors, attracting visitors at the first time.

Chuon Dam (also known as Cau Hai lagoon, belonging to the Tam Giang lagoon system) is located in An Truyen village, Phu An commune, Phu Vang district, about 15km from the center of Hue city. This is a familiar place in the tourist map of the ancient capital of many tourists from all over the world.

This brackish lagoon owns an area of nearly 100ha, is a quite famous and attractive community eco-tourism area for tourists to visit and experience. Coming here, visitors can not only admire the peaceful, poetic river scenery, bold beauty of ancient Hue but also have the opportunity to enjoy countless famous seafood species. 

Photo: Pham Trong Tin

Visitors can rent a large boat, float on the lagoon for an hour for about 100,000 - 120,000 VND and enjoy delicious dishes right at the boat such as grilled tiger shrimp, sautéed octopus with chili peppers,... Especially, it is impossible not to mention the fish cake - a unique, delicious, nutritious but affordable specialty, only available in Hue.

According to the people, the name of this pleasure cake comes from the way the cake is made. This type of cake is often prepared by Hue people by "pouring cakes" in small pans on a wood or charcoal stove, similar to pancakes.

During the cooking process, the stove produces a lot of smoke, flying suspiciously around the pan, causing these cakes to smell of smoke, so they are called smoke cakes. However, according to the reading of many Hue people, "smoke" is misread as "pleasure", so from there, the dish is called pleasure cake. 

Photo: Nhi Hoang

The fish cake at first glance is quite simple but requires a feat in the selection of ingredients. This dish is also special in that, usually, the seller of fish cakes at Chuon village market is not available. Diners who want to eat must go to the fish sale area in the market to buy ornamental fish and then bring it back to the o, the pouring pancakes processed for them with a salary of 3,000 - 5,000 VND / unit.

To choose a good catch, visitors must go to the market early, when fishermen have just brought back the fishing boat. The most famous fish market in Phu Vang district is Chuon village market. According to local people, orca that wants to be delicious must choose the size of 3 fingertips, the body is golden and thick with meat. 

Photo: @Wofdevil

Before processing, the fish is washed, left whole. The intestines of the fish are also retained to increase the flesh and greasyness. According to the local concept, the intestines of orca contain many healthy ingredients, ingested will help sedation and good sleep.

To make this cake, first, people golden fry the orca on a pan of preheated oil. The type of pan used is small, flat, just enough to coat the cake with the size of two hands bunched together. 

When the fish is browned and fragrant, pour in the stirred cake dough, add some vegetables such as bean sprouts, green onions ,... Sprinkle on top. The batter must be poured evenly, spilling all over the pan so that the cake is soft and thin. Wait about 2-3 minutes for the cake to cook, lift from the pan to prevent the batter from being raw or too burnt.

Locals commented that the fish cake tastes best when eaten hot and using bare hands instead of chopsticks. Wherever you remove fish bones, you always go there. The orca has a rich, fleshy taste, chewy and tender meat. Although the cake is thin, it is enough for visitors to feel the crispy, creamy chewiness of rice flour, combined with a little vegetables to help reduce the feeling of choking.

The orca cake is served with eardrum sauce, with chili peppers and sweet and sour fish sauce. The orca is dipped with fish sauce, while the cake is dipped in sweet and sour fish sauce. This strange combination brings an unforgettable flavor to the dish.

Photo: Nguyen Kim Ngan

In addition to ornamental fish, visitors can enjoy pleasure cakes with other typical seafood in the dragonfly lagoon such as shrimp, squid, discus fish,... Each ingredient will create a different flavor for the dish, guaranteed to delight visitors.

According to VNN

Image source: Multiple authors
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