This is one of the most delicious hotpot found by locals in the Mekong Delta, which shows an ideal combination of eel and banana flowers.
Selecting eels is a key step deciding how delicious the dish is. The cook should choose eels which have a medium length. In addition, the eels’ bellies should be yellow while their back are black, proving that they are from natural lakes or canals, not raised in ponds.
Lemon juice or water from washing rice while cooking is used to remove the stink of eels as well as their slime. Vinegar should not be used to clean the eels as it makes the eel flesh lose its special flavor. Instead, salt and hot water are ideal for cleaning eels. Then, the eel flesh will be cured in spices before being stir-fried.
The hotpot’s broth acquires a special sour flavor from a local tree, trai sau (Dracontomelon duperreanum). The sweet and sour broth comes from this fruit and the soft eel flesh. Aside from the indispensable banana flowers, diners can enjoy the hotpot with a wide range of herbs they like.
The sour spicy hotpot of eel and banana flowers will offer diners sweet, fresh and spicy tastes at the same time. The dish is suitable to enjoy for all year round, either in hot or cold weather.
By Lam Nhu