Cu Lao Dung boleophthalmus boddarti

Mekong Delta, including Soc Trang province has hundreds of fish recipes thanks to a big system of rivers and channels with an abundant number of fishes. Some of famous fish recipes are Braised Pseudapocryptes elongatus with black pepper, Braised siamese mud carp with sugar cane, Braised Luciosoma with fat and green onion, Braised goby with black pepper, etc.

A Vietnamese folk song says:

“Ví dầu cá bống kho tiêu,

Kho tiêu bỏ mỡ bỏ hành,

Bỏ ba lượng thịt để dành cho anh ăn”…

(“Braised goby with black pepper

When braising, do not miss adding fat and green onion,

One hundred of grams of pork, and reserve the dish for me”)

Although Mekong Delta has a wide range of fishes, boleophthalmus boddarti is considered as one of the best thanks to firm but tender flesh, less bone and great taste. Especially, the fish has a big liver which is buttery, greasy and a little bitter. The fish has a round and long head. On its skin there are many white round spots which are similar to beautiful star so that locals call it Ca bong sao (“sao” means star in Vietnamese). Ca bong sao can be found in muddy riverbanks in mangrove apple forests in An Thanh commune, Cu Lao Dung District. Dung Island is administrated as Cu Lao Dung district of Soc Trang province. They do not raise this kind of fish but only catch it in the wild, so that not many people have a chance to enjoy delicious dishes made from it. To catch boleophthalmus boddarti, local people drive “mong” – a mean of transportation to drive on mud in Soc Trang in the forest to find Ca bong sao. The fish lives in deep holes which could be 1 meter long. It needs experience and hard working to catch the fish.

Three best dishes from Cu Lao Dung boleophthalmus boddarti are Braised boleophthalmus boddarti with black pepper, Braised boleophthalmus boddarti with lemongrass and chili pepper, sweet and sour soup with Cu Lao Dung boleophthalmus boddarti and mangrove apple. These braised dishes with a little-thickened broth are usually served with steamed rice, boiled veggies, cucumber, soup with pennywort.

The famous Vietnamese Nguyen Dat wrote:

“Bống sao nấu với bần chua.

Lại thêm xị đế làm vua không bằng”…

(“Boleophthalmus boddarti is cooked with mangrove apple.

Enjoying the dish with some wine is better than being a king”…


Cu Lao Dung boleophthalmus boddarti

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