Get this small fish from the market now, it’s packed with natural omega-3 and calcium, and it’s ridiculously cheap

This small fish is a specialty from the Da River, living in the wild without cultivation, and can be consumed entirely, including the skin, soft bones, and rich in omega 3.


Dau fish, also known as finger fish, is a small fish about the size of a finger, measuring about 7-8 cm in length and the same width as a finger. The fish has a thin body with small, shiny silver scales. The flesh and bones of the fish are soft, making it possible to eat the fish whole without worrying about bones. This type of fish used to be eaten only by the poor, but now it has become a specialty in many restaurants.

Dau fish is also harvested for dried fish exports. The dau fish specialty from Vinh Phuc, Son Lan, Hoa Binh and other regions is highly favored when made into a dish called “ca chien cuon la lot” (deep-fried dau fish wrapped in betel leaf). Dau fish is now also sold in many markets. Compared to other types of fish, this fish is very affordable, priced at around 50,000 – 60,000 VND per kilogram.

Dau fish is a small, soft fish that is easy to eat for both the elderly and young children. Dau fish is rich in omega 3 and calcium. According to folk wisdom, eating the whole fish provides more nutrients and calcium.

Furthermore, dau fish is a natural fish that cannot be farmed, so it is safe and delicious to eat, without any fishy taste or excessive residues from farming practices.

In recent years, dau fish has been included as a specialty product in the OCOP (One Commune One Product) program by Son La province, and is made into dried fish and sold for 200,000 VND.

According to the recommendations of many nutritionists, eating fish with skin and bones provides better nutrition absorption. The fish bones are rich in calcium, which helps supplement calcium for children, pregnant women, and women in menopause.

The fish skin is a good source of collagen, which helps enhance skin and bone structure.

The fish belly is the part with the most diverse nutritional reserves compared to other parts of the fish.

Therefore, when eating dau fish and consuming the whole fish, it is beneficial in terms of nutrition, allowing us to maximize the collagen, calcium, and omega in the fish. Meanwhile, the price of dau fish in the markets is very affordable.

Preparing dau fish:

The most famous dish is dau fish wrapped in betel leaf and served with fish sauce.

Preparation: Clean the dau fish, remove the head if desired, and be careful to avoid breaking the gallbladder, which can cause a bitter taste. Soak the dau fish in rice water or salt water to clean it. Then let it drain.

For the betel leaf, choose fresh betel leaves that are not too old or too young, so they will taste delicious without any bitterness or astringency.

Cooking the fish:

Drain the fish or use paper towels to dry off the water. Pour oil into a pan and heat it. To prevent oil splatter, you can sprinkle some cornstarch on the fish or add cornstarch to the hot oil. When the oil is hot, add the fish and fry until one side is golden, then flip it to fry the other side. Dau fish cooks quickly and becomes crispy, so it doesn’t need to be fried for too long to maintain its sweetness.

Preparing the dipping sauce:

You can use pure fish sauce and add some slices of chili, squeeze in some lime juice, and add a little ground pepper.

If you prefer a sweet and sour dipping sauce, you can mix 1 part sugar, 1 part fish sauce, 1 part lime juice, and 5 parts water. Then add minced garlic, chili, and ground pepper.

Use the betel leaves, rinse them clean and let them dry. Wrap the fish in the betel leaf and dip it in the fish sauce, and you will have a delicious dish.

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