by Duy An
Quy Nhơn is not just well known for the natural beauty of its beaches, but also for its speciality bún chả cá, which has been recognised among the top 100 outstanding specialities of Việt Nam by Vietkings.
Although bún chả cá (vermicelli with grilled chopped fish) is a traditional dish, most diners agree that Quy Nhơn's is the best.
|Quy Nhơn's bún chả cá (vermicelli with grilled chopped fish) attracts not only locals but also visitors from far and wide. Photo phunuvagiadinh.vn
"When enjoying a bowl of bún chả cá here, I feel that almost essences of the sea are seemed to deposit in the dish so that any dinners who had once eaten the dish like me, wishing to return to seek it," said Nguyễn Thúy Hòa from HCM City.
Arriving at Ngọc Liên Restaurant located along the Nguyễn Huệ Road recently, Hòa said there were full of diners.
"After waiting for a while, a waiter brought me a bowl which immediately attracted me for its white vermicelli threads topped with grilled chopped fish pieces, fresh green coriander, red chilli and particularly the purity of broth. They all spread a tasty and aromatic flavour that makes my mouth water," Hòa said.
|Bún chả cá Bà Thu at 157 Nguyễn Huệ Street, is one of the best places to try the fish. Photo quynhonrent.com
Hòa said the waiter told her that the dish is more enjoyable when eaten with fresh lettuce, thinly grated cabbages, banana flowers, green bean sprouts, mint basils, lemon and chilli.
"I enjoy the dish when dipping the grilled chopped fish in chilli juice, accompanied with a vinegar-soaked purple onion, and have a tablespoon of hot broth," she said.
A seller named Ngọc Liên said the dish's powerful ingredient, tastier, is the broth stewed with only bones and heads of fresh mackerel, sailfish and snakehead fish. "I often stew the bones with grilled onions and pineapple for two hours before filtering it to get purity broth. After that, I fry dried onions and garlic in cooking oil and then put them in the broth to eliminate all fishing smell. That's why my broth is sweet, tasty and very fragrant."
|Grilled chopped fish is a speciality that almost all visitors and travellers to Quy Nhơn must try. Photo quynhonrent.com
Apart from broth, grilled chopped fish also plays an important role in making the dish unforgettable, said Liên, adding that she has to choose fresh fish, grate it to get lean meat and mix it with garlic, chilli, pepper, broth mix, cooking oil, a little of salt and pork skin threads then finely ground it to make the grilled chopped fish soft but tough.
After grounding, the mix is made into pieces, each the size of a chicken egg, before grilling it, she said, noting that she also covers the yolk over part of the fish pieces to steam it.
"When enjoying the dish, you will have a full feeling from soft, sweet, fragrant and tough flavours from grilled and steamed chopped fish," she said.
|The dish is more enjoyable when eaten with fresh herbs, chilli sauce, pepper and green bean spouts. Photo toplist.vn
Hòa told herself to learn a recipe and Liên's technique on how to cook the dish so that she can cook it at her home in HCM City, where live fishes are also available at a shop near her house. VNS
Enjoy bún chả cá in Quy Nhơn:Bún chả cá Ngọc Liên: 379 Nguyễn Huệ Street, Quy Nhơn, Bình Định. Phone numbers: 0256. 6259944 – 0983545477 – 0797776554Bún chả cá Phượng Tèo: 209 – 211 Nguyễn Huệ Street, Trần Phú Ward. Phone number: 056 381 5176Bún chả cá Thanh Ngân: Lô 43 – 44 Nguyễn Thị Định Street, Quy NhơnBún chả cá Mai: 239, Tăng Bạt Hổ Street, Lý Thường Kiệt Ward. Phone number: +84 256 3814 958Bún chả cá Bà Thu: 157 Nguyễn Huệ Street, Lê Lợi Ward.