Herring salad: A tasty offering of Phu Quoc

Sunday, 2021-12-05 16:01:08
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Herring salad: A tasty offering of Phu Quoc (Photo: VnExpress)
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Soft and fresh herring fillets mixed with onion and grated coconut make for a unique herring fish salad, a specialty of Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province.

The herring can be grilled, braised, fried, made into a sour soup, or filleted with tomato, but the stand-out dish is the salad. According to locals, herring salad from Khem Beach is the best.

It might be a simple enough dish, but it involves some sophisticated processing. The fish must be fresh. It is scaled and the guts, head, fins, and tail are removed, then a thin knife is used to remove the bone and slide off the meat from the sides.

Onion, carrot, grated coconut, fried minced garlic, and cilantro are mixed with the meat and a sour sauce. The sour sauce for the salad mixture is not made from lemon juice but from guava vinegar, and is seasoned with salt and sugar to create a slightly sour taste and a delightful aroma.

Herring salad is not complete without the dipping sauce made from minced garlic, chili, roasted peanuts, sugar, lemon juice, and the renowned Phu Quoc fish sauce.

The proper way to eat it is to take a piece of rice paper, add the herbs, cucumber and fish, roll it firmly and dip it in the sweet and sour sauce. The sweet herring meat, grated coconut, herbs and rich and lingering spicy sauce make for an explosion of flavours.