Fancy fish only lives in clean water, cooking it up makes a delicious and safe dish

Although small in size, this type of fish tastes delicious when cooked. Moreover, they only live in clean water, so cooking with them ensures safety.


This type of fish is called oil fish, looks like a white bamboo leaf, only 5-7cm long and about 1cm wide. In the past, the lakes were not polluted, Ho Guom, Ngoc Khanh lake, and lakes in the Xa Dan area all had oil fish living. In the summer mornings, people who exercise see schools of oil fish swimming and diving in the lake, it’s a sight to behold. However, nowadays the lakes are polluted so this fish is extinct. Occasionally, it is sold in the market when people from other places bring it here, they put it in a plate or a small pot.

In Vinh Phuc province, this type of fish is a simple specialty, it has a rich, greasy taste. It tastes great with hot or cold rice. From oil fish, people can stew it with pickled cabbage, pickled eggplants, fermented black beans,… People in Hanoi usually make sour soup, taro soup, stew, or fry it until crispy… You can refer to the recipe for sour soup with oil fish below.


– Fresh oil fish: 3-4 taels

– Taro: 5-7 taels (or pickled cabbage)

– Clean water: 1.5 liters

– Dried shallots, spring onions, Vietnamese mint, tomatoes


– Gut the oil fish, remove the guts, rinse with diluted saltwater, then drain.

– Marinate the fish with 1 teaspoon of salt, a little pepper for about 30 minutes, then fry over medium heat until crispy (note that crispy fried fish is quickly soft and boneless when stewed, if stewed with sweet broth, it takes longer to soften, when eating, it’s easier to choke on bones).

– Soak the taro or pickled cabbage in a sour solution (do not squeeze out all the sourness, as it will make the dish lose its delicious sourness).

– Add 3 dried shallots for fragrance, pour in the pickled taro, add a tablespoon of fish sauce to stir-fry well.

– Pour 1.5 liters of clean water into the pot to stew the taro soup (if using bone broth, it will be sweeter). When the water boils, reduce the heat, simmer for 15 minutes, then add the oil fish and simmer for another 15 minutes.

– Next, sauté the lard, stir-fry tomatoes, then pour everything into the taro soup pot, bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat.

To make the sour soup with oil fish delicious, it must be cooked over two stoves. Therefore, when it’s almost mealtime, boil the soup again and add Vietnamese mint (or spring onions as Vietnamese mint can overshadow the sour taste, bring out the aroma of Vietnamese mint).

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