Every country has its own specific dishes, depending on the province. Well in Vietnam, if you live near a lake, you have certainly already experienced the smoky tasty flavour of a fresh fish, just caught earlier the same day, and grilled to perfection in the purest and most simple way there is.
Well, the next step is simple, become your own chef and master the art of preparing a delicious grilled fish like a Vietnamese.
1/ Prepare your space
You will need a clear area on a loose soil, a thin bamboo stick a bit longer than your fish, a good bunch of dried rice, and obviously, a nice fish!
Start by digging a small hole in the ground to hold the bamboo stick.
2/ Prepare the fish
Difficult yet crucial part to cook this dish. Remember the long bamboo stick? It is time to thrust it down your fish’s throat. Careful with its teeth if you are preparing a catfish!
Once the stick cannot go further, it is time to plant it in the hole you prepared earlier, face down tail up.
3/ Prepare the bundle of sticks
Separate the bunch of dried rice in several lots. You then need to roll each lot around the fish, do a basic knot if you can, and move on to the next level. Once your fish is completely surrounded by dried rice, it is time to set it on fire.
4/ Burning Fish
Start the fire from the bottom of the pile, the flames will go up and light the higher levels of the bundle on their own. Be careful during this stage, dried rice catches on fire very easily.
5/ Fire dancing
Dried rice will burn quickly, therefore keep an eye on the fire to make sure the fish is still well-surrounded by enough rice. Use any tool long enough to be able to push the rice back around the fish when it starts falling off.
When the rice becomes ashes, push it aside to access the fish. Retrieve it slowly and place it on a dish. The bamboo stick should remain in the ground, otherwise remove it from the fish’s mouth once placed on the dish.
Wrap you napkin around your neck and dig in! In Vietnam courses are shared, so to respect this tradition, everyone can grab a fork and eat together this beautiful catch of the day.
Thank you to Ba Be Lake
for providing us with such a succulent fish!