Raw fish salad: VIP dish by Vietnam's Thai people

By Ngoc Thanh   February 27, 2017 | 05:01 am PT
The people of Thai minority group in northern Vietnam prepare the tasty and painstaking dish for special family unions or beloved guests.

Thai people in Dien Bien Province in the northern highlands, more than 300 miles to the northwest of Hanoi, live close to rivers and lakes which their diet largely depends on.


Among their favorite dishes is raw fish salad, which is prepared for every major family reunion or treating a special guest or for Tet, the Lunar New Year festival. Carps selected for the dish are larger than one kilogram (2.2 lb) and caught from a nearby stream or a pond in the backyard.


The fish is mixed with sliced banana blossom and different herbs.


The fish is filleted, and the cuts are sliced into smaller pieces, which according to locals will reduce the stink and help them absorb the spices better.


Wild banana blossom is sliced and then mixed with salt for two hours to get rid of the resin. The slices do not just add crunchiness to the dish, but their slightlybitter taste also helps one avoid stomachache for they are not used to raw fish.


Thai people often call their raw fish salad the “gathering” dish as it is made by many people, and for many to eat together.


The juice from bamboo shoot pickle is added to extra taste and to ripen the fish a bit. The best Thai raw fish salad brings a perfect combination of tastes. There is the crunchiness of the bamboo blossom, the fragrance from different herbs, the fish’s sweetness, the sour pickle juice, and the spiciness of garlic and pepper.


A typical Thai food tray has salad, steamed, boiled and grilled dishes. But the raw fish dish is not for everyone because it takes a lot of time to prepare, locals said.

Photos by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

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