A feast of a tuna eyeball, maybe not to everyone's taste?

June 15, 2024 - 14:23
Quy Nhơn Coastal City in the central province of Bình Định has many delicacies made from fish but is particularly famed for its stew made from tuna eyeballs, which comes highly recommended by local chefs.

Lê Hương

Quy Nhơn Coastal City in the central province of Bình Định has many delicacies made from fish, but a stew made from a tuna eyeball is one delicacy which comes highly recommended by local chefs.

This quite unique Vietnamese dish may not necessarily be to everyone’s taste.

But in the coastal city of Quy Nhơn, it’s a popular choice on many menus.

The eyeball of a tuna fish, which is stewed, is recommended as a way to get the full enjoyment of the local sea flavours and a dish that is served all across the city.

First the chef first rinses the eyeball in wine and ginger before it is poached in boiling water to get rid of fishy odours.

“Firstly, the fish eyeball should be very fresh,” chef Phạm Minh Chiến, from Mrs Thuận’s Tuna Fish Restaurant told Việt Nam News. “Secondly, while preparing materials, we should make the eyeballs less smelly.”

Chef Phạm Minh Chiến cooks the dish. VNS Photos Lê Hương

The final stew fish eyeball should have a fresh taste and be rich and full of flavour, he said. The broth should be savoury and clear and the dish served hot.

In terms of appearance, tuna eyes can look quite scary because they are larger than regular fish eyes. Each eye weighs about 100 - 200g and can be transformed by cooking in many different ways such as stewing, cooking in porridge, cooking in soup and hot pot...

Tuna'eyeballs can be very big. Photo cungdi.net

A local speciality for Phú Yên and Quy Nhơn, one of the unique and creative ways that has become a highlight in the cuisine here, is a recipe of tuna eyes stewed with traditional Chinese medicine.

The dish is combined with many spices including ginger, green onions and pepper to reduce the fishy taste.

The dish is both nutritious and special in flavour.

People often visit the region just to give the eyeball stew a try.

“I find this dish delicious,” Nguyễn Tiến Tài, a tourist from Hà Nội said. “I have tried it in several places. But in Quy Nhơn, this dish at Mrs Thuận’s Tuna Fish Restaurant offers a special flavour. In other places, the fish eyeball tastes a little fishy but here it tastes good, no fishy smell, lots of herbs and strong spices.”

According to nutritionist Nguyễn Hải Yến, tuna eyes contain DHA and Omega 3, both considered very good for human brain development.

So don’t turn your nose up to this dish and give tuna eyeball stew a go. VNS

Visitor Nguyễn Tiến Tài from Hà Nội enjoys the dish.