|(Photo: Vi Xua restaurant)
A: Welcome to VOV24/7’s Food Delight with recipes and food suggestions.
B: If you want to cook something special for this cool fall weather, a fresh water crab hot pot is a great choice.
A: Fresh water crab is a specialty of Vietnam’s northern countryside. When the rice is about to ripe, and right through harvest time, you’ll find a lot of crabs.
B: Crabs live along the edges of rice fields and irrigation ditches.
A: I bet many of you have already tried “Lau cua dong” - fresh water crab hot pot. Today, we’re visiting Vi Xua restaurant in Hanoi where fresh water crab hot pot is made in a very special way.
B: Nguyen Van Hoang, the chef and owner of Vi Xua restaurant, is going to cook us some fresh crab hot pot, the signature dish of his restaurant.
Hoang: My name’s Nguyen Van Hoang. Today, I will introduce to you a kind of hot pot made from fresh crab, a specialty of the countryside in northern Vietnam. The dish is served with vegetables that we grow in rural areas.
A: The main ingredient is crabs. What are the best crabs to make hot pot?
Hoang: Fat crabs are chosen. They are soaked and washed with salt water to get rid of the smell, washed again with fresh water. Separate the crab roe and keep it in a bowl. Well grind the crab bodies with some salt. We do it the traditional way, using a mortar and pestle. Extract the juice and meat throw away the shells. Normally, for 4 to 6 people, we use 1 kilo of crabs to make the broth.
B: For the best fresh water crab hot pot, the first and most important step is to choose fresh, fat crabs. The fresh water crab hot pot at Vi Xua restaurant is said to be cooked a special way.
Hoang: After preparing the crabs and washing the vegetables, we prepare the hot pot. The broth for our fresh water crab hot pot includes only water and the juice we extracted from the crabs. What is special is that we don’t use pork bones or any spices. We want to keep the natural flavor of the fresh crabs. The restaurant staff make the broth right at the table so that the customers can see with their own eyes every step of making the hot pot with fresh ingredients. Add a little salt to the crab juice, cook it until the crab meat floats in the juice, then serve the crab meat immediately the customers.
A: The broth for the hot pot is light and preserves the natural flavor of the crabs. Can we make some adjustment to cater to those who like spicy food?
Hoang: The crab hot pot can be accompanied with a hot pot of pork ribs, chicken, and beef, with some familiar spices for crab soup such as fried onion, vinegar, and diced tomato to make the soup colorful and tasty.
B: The flavor can be enhanced with other ingredients like banana flowers, spinach, amaranth, and purslane.
A: Fresh crab hot pot is very popular, and you can enjoy the natural flavor of fresh field crabs made in the traditional way at Vi Xua restaurant served by chef Hoang. Thanks for joining today. I hope you’ll tune in again next time.