DaNang seafood caught at the doorstep
|Top spot: Bien Dong restaurant attracts visitors its ocean view and beach access, away from the downtown area.
|Always a favourite: Squid collected from fishermen after a night at sea steams before a party.
|Unwrapped: Grilled Talang queenfish is popular at Bien Dong restaurant, Da Nang City. VNS Photos Hoai Nam
Bien Dong Resort
Address: Bai Trem, Tho Quang ward, Son Tra District, Da Nang City
Price: VND200,000-600,000 for a dish
Comment: delicious, cool with ocean and beach view
Bien Dong Resort restaurant provides guests with seafood, bought early in the morning at the wharf. Hoai Nam
reports.Son Tra peninsula in the coastal central city of Da Nang is hosting numerous domestic and foreign tourists this summer.
Bien Dong Resort's restaurant, which is sandwiched between the edge of the Son Tra mountain and pristine beaches, has lured gourmands with its fresh seafood and cool ocean air.
The 100-table restaurant offers its favourite dishes of grilled Talang queenfish, steamed squid and clams at a reasonable price.
The restaurant's chef Huynh Thi Ngoc Bich, who has 20 years of experience cooking seafood in Da Nang, said these dishes are the most popular of local and foreign tourists spending a holiday in the city.
"Seafood in the city is so fresh because the fish and squid are often caught the night before. People can select their seafood live," Bich said.
Summer is always the best time for squid and oysters. The 49-year-old chef orders squid and oysters from fishermen very early in the morning when the boats dock at the Son Tra wharf after a long night catching in the sea.
Oysters are boiled in a pot of chopped citronella, green chilli and salt until the shellfish open their mouths. The chef then puts basil in the pot and the dish is quickly served with salt and pepper.
"I make sure that oysters in Son Tra peninsula are the best of the city. Gourmets prefer slurping the oyster liquor after having the dish," Bich said.
Oysters are a quick dish, so they're often cooked first when gourmets start the party.
Squid is the second dish.
The chef leaves out an ink-bag of a squid before boiling it in a pot of water and vinegar for just 10 minutes.
She said squid quickly turns crunchy in the boiling water.
The chef cuts the squid into pieces, saying that squid is delicious with fish sauce.
"Fish sauce is mixed with minced ginger, chilli, vinegar and sugar. Gourmets can have the steamed squid with sliced green banana, basil and carambola," the cook suggested.
Bich, who was born and grew up in Da Nang, said she wants to introduce visitors to typical seafood from her home town.
It is recommended to grill Talang queenfish weighing 1kg on a charcoal stove.
It's always the last dish in a party after customers finish oysters and squid.
To make the dish, the fish are cleaned and soaked in a mixture of citronella, chopped scallions, chilli powder, salt and sesame oil – a must have ingredient.
The cook also stuffs the fish with a bellyful of mixed spices and continues soaking it for 30 minutes.
The fish is then bundled up in silver paper before being grilled over a stove.
The cook explained that she used to use banana leaves to wrap the fish, but she changed the recipe.
"Now gourmets want to have the grilled fish in a different way and the flammable charcoal may burn the scales. The silver paper keeps the grilled fish hot through the party," the cook explained. The fish is hot served just after 20 minutes and it can be rolled in a mustard leaf or eaten with mixed spices of salt, local green chillis and lime.
"It's so hot and tasty," Bich warned. "Live fish from the ocean are always delicious, but they are even more appetising when grilled on a charcoal stove," she said.
She added that gourmands can make their stomachs full making rolls of rice paper with grilled fish and vegetables.
The cook suggested that having seafood dishes with locally made Larue beer is the best choice for all visitors.
"As I suggested, oysters, squid and grilled queenfish are sufficient and cheap for a night's party at the restaurant near the beach," she offered.
She said the party costs around VND800,000 (US$38) for a group of four, excluding drinks.
"Please, come and have fresh seafood in Son Tra peninsula, just 15 minutes away from the city. It's near Linh Ung Pagoda, home of the country's highest Buddha statue at 65m on the top of a mountain," she said. — VNS