Braised Fish in Clay Pots as Tet Treats

Braised Fish in Clay Pots as Tet Treats


Braised fish in clay pots as Tet treats are prepared by the Vu Dai villagers with more than 50 households helping each other to make this dish. 

The braised fish in clay pots need to have manpower of more than 50 households to prepare. Two weeks prior to Tet (or known as the Lunar New Year), the residents of the Vu Dai village located in Ha Nam Province create their traditional dish – braised fish. 

The Vu Dai village is known for the braised fish. Each household can sell around 1,000-2,000 pots of fish each year. 

Tran Duc Phong is one of the many in the village that prepares this dish, some of his caught fish is the largest black carps with a total weight of more than 3 kilograms. 

His process starts with removing the scales and internal organs of the fish before cutting the fish into small pieces and cleaning them. 

His family has weaving as their main means of livelihood but when Tet is fast approaching, they prepare and gear up for making braised fish. 

According to Phong’s wife, they are aiming to produce 1,500 pots this year. The earnings during these days are high however, the downside of it all is lack of sleep and because of all the steps to make the braised fish, it is physically draining. 

After the fishes are cleaned, the family prepares a variety of 16 spices to marinate the fish. Its base is a layer of minced galangal to prevent the fish from burning. 

This is also where this dish’s signature taste come from. 

Another brand, “Ca Kho Ba Kien” (Ba Kien Braised Fish) is known for its salty and sour flavor making it stand out from other braised fish in the region. 

According to the owner, Nguyen Ba Toan, the salty flavor comes from the fish sauce and the sour taste came from adding lime juice. 

The cuts of fish are placed inside a clay pot together with some slices of pork belly and spices. 

Most of the villagers use longan firewood which creates a significant fragrance and can maintain the fire for around 15-16 hours. 

The villagers stock up logs and logs of longan 6 months before the Lunar New Year. While the pots are originally made from Nghe An Province central and are initially used to boil rice water to strengthen its heat resiliency. 

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