Life Life

02/08/2019 - 08:07

Going to Thap Cham (Cham Tower) to eat grilled flying fish

Flying fish (called ca co at my village) goes well with green jackfruit, but grilled flying fish is also delicious, becoming a speciality for people living by the sea.

Grilled flying fish is a speciality for people by the sea in summer

At weekends, my whole family went to visit my husband’s village. As soon as we set foot on the sand dune, we could feel the alluring smell of grilled flying fish floating in the breezes from the sea pervading the whole hamlet. 

My husband guessed the boat had just got ashore with lots of fresh flying fish and the whole hamlet were grilling fish. “We are lucky again; the dish of grilled flying fish dipped in the mixture of salt and chilli is so well known. Getting married with a man living by the sea, you have much good food to eat, haven’t you?” said my husband.

In this season, flying fish are abundant in Phu Dien (Phu Vang). They often gather in the sea in Southern Central, especially in summer. The flying fish has a long thin body, a blue back, a white belly and a pair of long wings reaching its tail. Flying fish can be processed into various dishes such as fish stewed with chilli, sour soup, frying fish, etc. But grilled flying fish is the most popular, becoming a speciality served at restaurants in Thap Cham for tourists.

In hot weather, more tourists find their way to far-off Thap Cham. It is the chance for restaurants there to introduce to tourists their delicious dishes. Not everyone knows grilled flying fish, especially when it is enjoyed right on the beach. Diners can sit enjoying the food and breezes from the sea.

But it is best to eat grilled flying fish right in the home of a fisherman, listening to his stories about the sea; one can eat forever without feeling full. 

Flying fish is grilled whole. All you have to do is take off gills, scales and intestines. Make a line with a knife on each side, then marinade the fish with some spices. Remember to coat the grill with some cooking oil so that the fish will come off easily later.

Wait until charcoal catches fire, put the fish on the grill. Remember to turn the fish now and then to avoid its skin being burnt. We sat watching the fire for Daddy. The mouthwatering smell of grilled flying fish made us feel hungry.

The brown and fragrant grilled fish was then displayed on a plate. Looking at it, you know you are going to consume a lot of rice and beer. After the fish was ready, my father-in-law prepared a dish of dipping salt by beating salt and green chilli together.

Simply use your hands to break the fish in half. Separate the flesh then dip it in pure fish sauce or the mixture of salt and green chilli. Nothing can compare with it. You can also eat it with some herbs and cucumber to your taste. You can feel the salty taste of the sea combined with the good-smelled fatty taste of the fish in this speciality.

Flying fish are popular and cheap. You can buy flying fish at any market near the sea at the price of VND 50.000-70.000 per kilogram or even at markets in the city and suburbs. So, if one day you feel like treating your family to grill flying fish, all you have to do is drop by a market for some fresh round fish.

If you do not like cooking, you can drop by Phu Dien Beach, asking for grilled flying fish. I am sure that you will have an interesting afternoon in the open air with blue sky, white clouds and breezes. Take a sip of cold beer, then pick up a piece of fish dipped in the mixture of salt and green chilli while listening to sounds of waves, you will see how beautiful life is.

Story and photo: Thao Vy