The Tasty Delights of Nghe Luon: A Culinary Adventure You Won’t Want to Miss

Craving a taste of the famous Nghe specialty? Don't miss out on these two mouth-watering variations of the humble swamp eel. These dishes will take you on a culinary journey, from the rustic charm of traditional cuisine to the elegant sophistication of fine dining. Prepare to be mesmerized by the delicious flavors that will leave you craving more!


Cuisine of Nghe Province: A Delicious and Nutritious Specialty

Among the diverse culinary treasures of Nghe Province, dishes made from eel always hold a special place. Eel meat is not only tender and flavorful but also highly nutritious. The rich content of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in eel meat boosts the health of the sick and elderly, supports the physical development of children, and provides essential supplements for pregnant women.

Eel is also known for its ability to improve eye and brain health and enhance memory. Notably, with its low saturated fat content, eel becomes an ideal choice for people with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Furthermore, eel meat has blood-enriching properties and helps prevent iron-deficiency anemia. For women, eel offers additional benefits such as reducing wrinkles and improving skin, hair, and nail health due to its high collagen content.

Eel Meat: A Rich Source of Iron to Prevent Anemia

In traditional medicine, eel meat is considered sweet and warm in nature. It nourishes the spleen and stomach, enhances blood circulation and yang energy, benefits the liver and kidney, strengthens bones and tendons, and dispels wind and dampness. Eel is also used to treat conditions like exhaustion, cough, diabetes insipidus, bone and joint pain, physical weakness, internal hemorrhoids, rheumatism, and leukorrhea in women.

Thanks to its high nutritional value and distinctive flavor, eel is prepared in a variety of dishes, including eel porridge, glass noodle soup with eel, eel hot pot, and grilled eel. However, when it comes to the specialties of Nghe Province, one must mention eel braised with banana blossoms and tofu, stir-fried eel with eggplant, and spicy stir-fried eel—dishes that have contributed to the renowned reputation of Nghe’s cuisine among food connoisseurs.

Stir-fried Eel with Eggplant: A Hearty Dish Evoking Homely Flavors


To prepare this dish authentically, choose eels with short bodies, brown backs, and dark yellow bellies—signs of their superior quality. To clean the eels, place them in a pot, sprinkle with salt, and cover tightly. The eels will writhe due to the salt, and their slimy coating will be removed. Then, rinse and cut the eels into sections. Alternatively, you can purchase pre-cleaned eels to save time.

– 300g of cleaned field eels

– 500g of eggplant

– Scallions, turmeric powder, fish sauce, seasoning, pepper (or red chili), cooking oil, betel leaves, perilla leaves, and spring onions.

Stir-fried Eel with Eggplant: A Hearty Homely Dish


– Cut the cleaned eels into 3cm pieces.

– Marinate the eel pieces with finely chopped scallions, turmeric powder, fish sauce, seasoning, and pepper (or chili) for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to permeate.

– Slice the eggplant thinly (quarter lengthwise), and soak in a dilute salt water solution for about 10 minutes to remove the bitter juice.

– Rinse with clean water and drain.

– Heat a spoonful of oil in a wok and fry the chopped scallions until golden and fragrant.

– Add the marinated eel and stir-fry over high heat for about 5 minutes until cooked. Then, remove the eel from the wok and set it aside.

– Using the same wok, add another spoonful of oil and heat it up.

– Put the eggplant into the wok, season lightly, and stir-fry until slightly cooked.

– Return the eel to the wok, mixing it with the eggplant, and stir-fry for about 2 minutes.

– Toss in the chopped betel leaves, perilla leaves, and spring onions, and continue stir-frying for about 1 minute to finish the dish.

This stir-fried eel with eggplant dish exudes a hearty, homely flavor. Enjoy it with hot steamed rice for a delightful family meal.

Eel Braised with Banana Blossoms and Tofu: A Traditional Dish with Rich Flavors


– 2 medium-sized field eels, cleaned and deboned

– 80g of crispy pork shoulder, mixed with tapioca starch, seasoning, and chopped betel leaves. Shape into betel leaves rolls and deep-fry until golden.

– 1 piece of three-layer pork belly, charred on the edges.

– 1 block of tofu, cut into pieces and deep-fried until golden.

– A few green bananas, peeled and cut into pieces, then parboiled.

– 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges.

– Seasonings: fermented rice, apple cider vinegar, and crushed garlic.

– Herbs: scallions, Vietnamese coriander, perilla leaves, and betel leaves.

Eel Braised with Banana Blossoms and Tofu: A Flavorful Traditional Dish

Cooking Method:

– Cut the cleaned eels into sections.

– Place a betel leaf roll in the center of each eel section, roll it up, and secure it with a string.

– Pan-fry the eel rolls with a little oil until golden brown.

– In a wok, stir-fry the tomatoes, tofu, and green bananas.

– Add the pork belly and eel rolls, continuing to stir-fry until fragrant.

– Season with a dash of fish sauce and pour in the fermented rice water. Cook until the tomatoes are soft.

– Add enough boiled cooled water, cover the wok, and simmer over low heat for about 20-30 minutes.

– Adjust the seasoning to taste, and add a spoonful of apple cider vinegar or rice wine for extra aroma.

– Finally, toss in the herbs and crushed garlic, mixing well.

– Serve the eel braised with banana blossoms and tofu hot, accompanied by rice vermicelli and fresh herbs. This dish is sure to satisfy even the most discerning palates with its rich, enticing flavors.

Eel braised with banana blossoms and tofu is not just a delicious meal but also embodies the essence of traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Its meticulous preparation and abundant ingredients make it a perfect choice for a warm and affectionate family gathering.

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