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Young lingfish at the beginning of the season dipped in vinegar

The young lingfish at the beginning of the season float in freshwater, along with the vinegar-dipped dandelion flower, bringing a rich flavor typical of the West.

“July (lunar calendar) water jumps ashore” is the way people call it when the flood season comes from upstream of the Mekong River. People in the West are not like other people, they will feel sad if the season comes and they don’t see the flood. In fact, this is not a natural disaster but a new business season, making a living thanks to the water of the people in the floating area after the rice is harvested.

An Giang and Dong Thap are the places to receive the earliest floods. The stream carries alluvium and fish and shrimp products. Husband and wife Cao Van Tung and Nguyen Thi Kim Cuong have been attached to the river for a long time and every season they fish in Can Dang commune, Chau Thanh district, An Giang province. Since 2016, Mr. Tung has also opened a Youtube channel, Thuong Thuong in the Western region, to post videos introducing folk dishes, life and seasonal river tourism.

Young lingfish at the beginning of the season dipped in vinegar
Fresh young spirit fish at the beginning of the season.

Mr. Tung said that this year the flood came late, so the specialty of Linh fish was also slower. At the end of the 7th lunar month, when the young reishi came back, Mr. Tung’s family rowed along the Can Dang canal, a tributary of the Hau river, to harvest the reishi. On the Can Dang channel, he put 12 wires. There are two main parts: tail and two wings, easy to install, simple to use to catch fish and shrimp. In addition to young lingfish, in the group, they can also catch crabs, tilapia, frogs, scads and shrimps, all of which can make delicious dishes.

At the beginning of the floating season, the young reishi is few, only 2-4 kg/day but can be sold for 150,000 VND/kg. About half a month later, when the reishi comes back a lot, the harvest is also more, the selling price drops to about 70,000-80,000 VND/kg.

Rowing by boat to visit, Ms. Cuong also stopped by the shore to pick wildflowers to make baby linguine and dipped vinegared cotton balls. Dandelion belongs to the legume family, grows naturally, so it easily adapts to coastal habitats. Mature trees grow in bushes about 5 m high, flowers grow in yellow clusters, with each cluster has 8-10 flowers.

Ms. Cuong instructs to make young linguine fish dipped in vinegar and served with crazy cotton.

Linh fish eat right in the floating season, the fish is as small as anchovies, so it can chew all the bones. Linh fish can be processed in many dishes such as sour soup, fried dough, or braised, but if you want to eat vinegar dip, you have to go to An Giang, Dong Thap to feel the deliciousness and freshness of this dish.

Ms. Cuong shared that making spirit fish is simple by cutting off the belly, pulling out the intestines, then scrubbing the fish in the basket and washing the scales. Next is to marinate the fish with spices such as salt, minced chili, a little fish sauce, green onions, pepper and sugar. And the vinegar water is homemade sour vinegar, mixed with water, sugar, pepper, and salt for a sweet and sour taste. In addition, eardrum fish sauce, fresh chili peppers, and accompanying vegetables such as dandelion flower, morning glory, and plantain are also indispensable when enjoying the fish dish dipped in vinegar. To add more appeal, you can add a little minced garlic and minced raw garlic to the vinegar water.

Linh fish is put in a pot of boiling vinegar water, then add vegetables. When the fish is just cooked, serve it with white rice. The sweet and aromatic taste of fish, cotton buds, and the sour taste of vinegar mixed with the pungent taste of chili fish sauce numb the tip of the tongue. Eat where to drop fish and vegetables to enjoy.

“Fish dipped in vinegar, in addition to the sweetness of the fish, also brings the warm taste of the homeland and even childhood memories when recalling each flood season in the West, bringing rich products back,” Tung shared.

Photo, video: Thương lắm miền Tay

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