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Viet Nam

November 9, 2012

Special Sauce – mam ba khia – mam cong – mam tom

Ca Mau use fiddler crabs to produce mam ba khia. Can Giuoc produces mam cong from another species of small crab. And Go Cong is famous for its mam tom cha shrimp sauce.

Different types of fish sauce are made at different times of year. In northern Vietnam, ragworm sauce is typically produced from late September to early October. Binh Dinh mackerel sauce is produced during the fishing season from February to May. Following the Lunar New Year, when the swamps dry up, southern people catch linh fish and make fish sauce. The krill shrimp sauce season runs from January to April, when krill shrimp breed.

Fish sauce is eaten throughout Vietnam. It is used as a flavoring, a condiment and to preserve food. Many popular dishes require fish sauce. Hue beef vermicelli is flavored with krill shrimp sauce. Bacon and raw vegetables are dipped into sour shrimp sauce. Boiled sweet potato buds are flavored with sauce made from field crabs. Ragworm sauce mixed with mandarin orange peels is eaten with boiled pigs’ trotters. Lotus stems are served with braised fish sauce. Green bananas, green starfruit, boiled pork, rice pancake, and herbs are dipped into mackerel sauce. The list of recipes that call for mam is endless.

A popular verse from the central city of Hue proclaims:

“Don’t say krill shrimp sauce has a bad smell.
Without it, the meal is incomplete.”

The former royal capital of Hue produces many types of mam. Each season brings another type. The variety is astounding. Residents of this region, which is rich in seafood, produce salty, sweet and sour fish sauces using products like tuna, flying fish, dzut (tiny field shrimp), cong (tiny crabs) and so (shellfish). Thanks to the city’s strong Buddhist influence, Hue women are also skilled in making vegetarian “fish sauce which is a key ingredient for vegetarian dishes. Varieties include mam roi (vegetable “fish sauce”), mam ca (egg-plant “fish sauce”) and mam dzua (pickles “fish sauce”). Common ingredients include melons, cal rots, turnips, jackfruit fibers, galingale, red peppers, dried tofu, fried rice flour.

Fish sauce is very healthy. An old saying states that “Eat rice with fish sauce, one will look fine an d healthy!” There are many folk poems and tales relating to fish sauce. One old story concerns a special sauce called mam ngu (king’s fish sauce) that was reserve d for the royal family. Sea urchins, ragworms, shrim and anchovies are all suggested ingredients, but nc body is certain of the recipe for mam ngu.

While this royal recipe has been lost, Vietnam continue to produce plenty of delicious types of fish sauce. As thi ancient verse reminds us, no meal is complete without it:

“The fish sauce has run out so I must go out to catch fish After three years, when the fish sauce is ready, I will invit you to lunch.”

Tongue out Travel Blogs

More entries: Vietnam's specilal sauces (1), PUBLIC SPEAKING , assay (2)

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10:52 PM Feb 14 2013


Viet Nam

About the dog in Phu Quoc???;)