Vietnam’s unique street food delicacy: duck embryo, fish noodle soup

By Di Vy   October 18, 2019 | 11:13 am GMT+7
Vietnam’s unique street food delicacy: duck embryo, fish noodle soup
A bowl of fish noodle soup with duck embryo and fresh herbs. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Duck embryo with fish noodle soup might sound like a strange food combo to some, but it is a speciality of An Giang Province.

Bun ca, or fish noodle soup, is a popular dish in An Giang, 250 km west of Saigon, but it is actually a Cambodian creation. Locals in the Mekong Delta tweaked the dish to appeal to their taste by adding hot vit lon, duck eggs with embryos inside, to the soup.

Hot vit lon is a popular street food delicacy across Vietnam and in several Southeast Asian countries. It is known as balut in the Philippines. The duck eggs can be served boiled, stir-fried, tossed or poached in the soup.

By combining the duck eggs with the fish noodle soup, the dish takes on an interesting texture and rich flavor.

One of the best places to try this food combination is at Bich Huyen's wood food cart near Bung Binh Thien (God Lake), about 35 km away from Chau Doc Town in An Giang.

Upon arriving, visitors will notice a large pot of broth placed on one side of the food cart, next to a basket of washed vegetables and herbs.

Different kinds of herbs on display. Photo VnExpress/Di Vy.

Different kinds of herbs on display. Photo VnExpress/Di Vy.

Huyen said making the broth is the most challenging and time consuming aspect of cooking the dish since she has to spend many hours gently boiling the broth with pork bones and fish.

"Besides having to use fresh fish, knowing the correct spices and the amount is crucial to making the dish delicious," she said.

On the simmering fire, the broth is spiced up with fermented moustached danio fish sauce and mam ruoc (fermented sauce made from acetes, a small variety of shrimp) which gives it a rich flavor. Crushed tumeric is also used to give the filleted snakehead fish and the broth a hint of yellow.

The 37-year-old owner will serve the dish fresh right in front of you and garnish it with fresh basil and sesban leaves which emit a steamy aroma.

Local customers wait for Huyen (R) to make a bowl of fish noodle with embryo egg. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Local customers wait for Huyen (R) to make a bowl of fish noodle with duck embryos. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

A bowl of fish noodle soup with duck embryo costs VND20,000 ($0.86).

Huyen opens around 2 p.m. and stops when she is completely sold out.

Since her food cart is near Bung Binh Thien Lake, travelers will need to cross Con Tien Bridge, take the 956 route heading to Khanh Binh Border Gate and then turn left at the intersection that leads to Quoc Thai Commune.

The lake is located in an area adjacent to four communes - Khanh An, Khanh Binh, Nhon Hoi and Quoc Thai - and is located in the north of An Phu District.

Bung Binh Thien is one of the largest fresh water lakes in the Mekong Delta. The best time to visit Bung Binh Thien is the flooding season in the delta (July-October), when the lake has more vitality with higher water levels.

 
 
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