Hot pots

U Minh Fish Sauce Hotpot
Whenever you come to U Minh, Ca Mau, beside enjoy the many delicious and typical dishes, always remember to try the U Minh Fish Sauce Hotpot there. This is one of the indispensable dishes of southern Vietnam. To the people in the southern part of Vietnam in general and in U Minh in particular, fish sauce has appeared for a long time in the history. Since the time when their ancestors discovered this land, fish sauce has become a familiar and important part of their life. It is also a must-have food for the international tourists in Vietnam. We can try as many different dishes made from fish sauce as we want, but the most unique one in U Minh is indubitably the Fish Sauce Hotpot. The hotpot includes the special fish sauce and a plethora of fresh vegetables. They can be familiar types of vegetable such as cabbages, corianders, green bananas, chilies, garlics, or the special local ones such as DauRong, Bong Sung, Dot Nhan Long, Dot Choai, etc. They are all wild vegetables that can only be found in U Minh cajuput forests. Besides, there are also other ingredients such as corn, mushroom, fishes, eel, etc. to add to the wonderful flavor of the fish sauce hot pot.
Lau mam (salted fish hotpot)
“Lẩu mắm” is a southern specialty and an amazing marriage of preserved fish and hot-pot as well. Guests are certain to love it at the first sight due to the eye-catching beauty of large dishes of colorful vegetables and the favor of the broth, made from salted fish that is cooked until its meat and bone are separated, greasy and sweet-smelling. The broth is seasoned with sugar, spices; a little of coconut milk added is the secret for a more fatty, scented and viscid hotpot sauce. Red chili and chopped citronella are dispensable parts for a fragrant taste. Fresh fish meat, water crab meat, snails, eel, slices of pork, silver shrimp accompanied with various kinds of vegetables, such as eggplant, bitter melon, water wort, “dien dien” flower , bean sprouts, water lily, straw mushroom will be dipped into the boiled sauce until well-done. For this reason, “Lẩu mắm” is considered as one of the ideal dishes for vegetable-lovers. The more things are added, the more moreish the stock is. “Lẩu mắm” is scoop out into bowls and served with handfuls of rice vermicelli also. Enjoying the winter bitter cold with a hot salted fish hotpot, a medley of flavors, spicy, bitter, salty, sweet and greasy is not a bad idea!
“Lẩu Dê” (goat hotpot)
“Lẩu Dê” (goat hotpot) is quite famous in Vietnam for its nutritious value and appetizing flavor. The goat is burnt on the fire until well-done and pungent. And then meat and bone are separated and aromatized with a lot of flavoring spices before cooking it with medicine herbs in half of day. The goat meat and bone are tender, creating a sweet and flavoring broth, typical of “lẩu dê”. Unlike other hotpots, “lẩu dê” is boiled in a clay pot by a coal cooker. Little by little, various veggie including fresh cabbage, water morning glory, carrot, celery as well as tofu, “mỳ bánh đa”, a kind of vermicelli and taro are added into the boiling clay pot. And when foods become tender and imbued with sweet flavor of the stock, let enjoy the dish. Just pick up some hot meat slices, dip it into a special sauce, called “chao”, and then savor, if not devour, the meat sweetness mingled with the spicy, sweet, greasy, and salty of “chao”.  Instead of “chao”, northern people often serve with “tương” that is not less yummy. Additionally, medicine herb fragrance in the broth makes the hotpot more intriguing. Each restaurant has its own recipe for spices, herbs and sauces. Hope that you can enjoy all kinds.
“Lẩu canh chua” (Sour soup hotpot)
Originating from an indigenous sour soup made in style of a hotpot, “lẩu canh chua” charms guests by its sour taste coming from tamarind, pineapple or vinegar, varying with seasons. The sweet of the stock often springs from marrowbone or fish meat. The intriguing fragrance stems from the harmonious combination of herbs, including caramelized garlic, chopped scallions, as well as okra, Vietnamese coriander (“rau răm”), long coriander (“ngò gai”), Thai basil, and so on, at the cooker’s disposal. Large piles of greens, tofu, starchy taro root, and noodles, mushroom are integral to be served with the broth. The main ingredient, beef, seafood, meat or the mixture of all is ordered according to personal interest. Like other hotpots, things were either boiled or blanched in the simmering stock and then served with soy sauce and spicy fish sauce. It is interesting with ultimate processes, adding stuff, removing and eating and just-cooked foods sounds too tempting to restrain from. Once the dipping course is done, rice noodles and bean sprout are added to the viscid broth to create a second course of delicious soup. “Lẩu canh chua” with its sour taste and pure harmony of basic flavors, is not just a favorite warming your belly and your heart in the winter but also an idea choice for hot summer days.
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