Nau man – a specialty food of Tien Giang province (Mekong Delta) characterizes the cuisine and culture of the region which is said to be wild and generous. Nau man is not a soup but not a braised dish. It is a mix of 2 popular dishes in Mekong Delta: Sweet and sour soup, Braised fish in caramel.
Main ingredients of Nau man are fish which does not have scales, tomato (optional), green onion, coriander, salt, chili pepper, lime (or vinegar). The dish is slightly salty, slightly sour and hot (optional), its broth just covers the fish. The recipe is easy. Put prepared fishes (whole or cut) into boiling water, add tomato if needed. Then seasoning the dish with spices. When the fishes are well-done, add some green onions and coriander to make the dish smelling and good-looking. Nau man is a good choice on busy days for simple recipes, easy-to-find ingredients, rich nutrition, comfort and great flavor.
The dish is a simple version of Sweet and sour soup (Canh chua) which is cooked from fish, lots of veggies. While it needs various vegetables to cook Canh chua, there is no need to add any kinds of vegetables to Nau man. The cook can add tomato at his wish. The cook must use more water to cook Canh chua in comparison to cooking Nau man. As mentioned above, the broth of Nau man just covers the fish. The broth of Canh chua is clear, less salty but sourer in comparison to Nau man.
This dish also is considered as sour Braised fish with more broth. While the Braised fish in Mekong Delta is sweet and salty, Nau man is sour and salty. While the broth of Braised fish is not too much and gelatinous, the broth of Nau man covers the fish.
Nau man is served in a bowl like serving soup. Local people like to eat the dish with various vegetables, including many wild vegetables such as yellow velvetleaf, Derris trifoliata leaf, Enydra fluctuans. To eat, dinner adds lime juice to the bowl of Nau man, the broth turns milky white. The dish looks nice with red tomato, white fish, green onions. It is really a comfort dish for not only summer but also cold days.