Quang Binh, the sunny and windy Central region, is not only famous for its system of majestic caves, white
Unlike other famous porridge dishes, the bed porridge of Quang Tri land makes diners remember forever because of its special ingredients and “unique” way to enjoy.
If you have the opportunity to visit Quang Tri, you will hear and be introduced to one of the most famous dishes in this sunny and windy land. That is the fish porridge on the bed (also known as snakehead fish soup, Hai Lang powdered porridge).
The reason for its name is because this porridge is made from two main ingredients: banh chung and snakehead fish (or fish, banana fish). This is also the difference that makes the specialty of fish porridge with a unique “one-of-a-kind” enjoyment, which is not mixed with any other famous porridge.
Although it is a rustic dish for the people of Quang Tri, fish porridge requires meticulousness, from the selection of ingredients to the processing.
Unlike porridge made from simmered, soft rice, fish porridge is made from thinly rolled dough, cut into bite-sized pieces. Because the dough is thinly sliced, long, and looks like the bamboo slats of the bed, the dish also got its name from there.
Depending on the place, people cook fish porridge from rice flour, filter flour, or flour, but the most popular is still rice flour. Rice must choose a delicious variety, not too sticky or too dry.
The rice is washed, soaked in water for about 2 hours, and then pureed. Put the milled rice into a clean cloth, tie it tightly, and then use a heavy object to press it on top to drain the water, wait for the dry powder to be obtained, then knead it.
The dough must be kneaded by hand until it is flexible, smooth, and has a certain toughness. The dough should not be too wet or too dry so that when cooking, the fibers do not get crushed or hard. This is also considered an important stage that determines the quality of the bed porridge.
In addition to the carefully selected powder, snakehead fish also needs to be cleverly selected. The quality fish must have medium size, firm flesh. When fish is delicious, when cooking porridge, creates sweetness for the broth.
Fresh fish bought to be scaled, washed. The part of the fish is cleaned, kept, not discarded like other dishes, then marinated with spices and fried to reduce the fishy smell. The heart of the fish is considered the highlight that contributes to the greasy taste of the bed porridge.
Boil the fish and filter it carefully to get the meat, remove the bones. Continue to marinate the filtered fish meat with spices such as salt, pepper, compress, chili, fish sauce and then stir-fry until fragrant. The fish head and bones are stewed for water, seasoned with spices to make the porridge richer. When the water boils, add the thinly sliced flour to the boil.
When a customer orders, the seller scoops porridge into a bowl, adding snakehead fish meat and spices on top. This porridge is served with finely chopped compressed leaves, non-aromatic onions or pickled tubers. Especially indispensable for a few slices of hot chili or fresh pepper that makes diners both eat and “sweat” with the taste of numbness in the tip of the tongue.
Another interesting thing is that people eat fish porridge with chopsticks instead of using a spoon like regular porridge. This interesting way of enjoying is also a special highlight that makes diners forever remember the “unique” specialty of the land of Quang Tri.
If you have the opportunity to enjoy fish porridge on the bed, diners will feel the soft, slightly chewy dough mixed with the sweet and aromatic broth, with the salty taste of fish meat and a little spicy from pepper and chili. Especially on days when the weather turns cold, there’s nothing better than eating a bowl of hot, smoky bed porridge.