Boxfish (Cowfish, Cá bò hòm, Ca bo hom) is ugly-looking and scary with a short tail, small fins, cubic shape, black spots on the skin. However, it has white, outstandingly sweet-tasty, greasy, chewy and firm flesh and only backbone, no small bones. In addition, this kind of fish is rich in nutrition. In Vietnamese, they call the fish Cá bò hòm because its face looks like the cow face, it has a cubic shape and looks like a box (“bò” means cow, “hòm” means box in Vietnamese). This kind of fish lives in the ocean in Central Vietnam (Phan Rang, Phan Thiet) and it is not easy to catch it. So that its price is too high. It is considered as “king of seawater fishes” or “chicken in the sea” in Phan Thiet thanks to its great taste. On a trip to the coastal Phan Thiet city, do not miss Boxfish – a specialty food of the province.
Boxfish is used to cook a lot of delicious dishes such as Steamed Boxfish, Grilled Boxfish, Porridge with Boxfish, Soup with Boxfish. One of the easiest, most popular but favorite Boxfish recipe is Grilled Boxfish. Wash the fish, no need to remove the organs and marinate it with any spice, grill the fish on charcoal until its skin turns burnt and black, white flesh is revealed and a great smell spreads in the air. The cook should change the sides of the fish to make sure it is well-done inside.
The dish is served with vegetables (cucumber, green banana) and herbs (Vietnamese mint, Thai basil, coriander), a mixture of salt, lime juice, ground black pepper, chili pepper. Some people prefer to wrap the Boxfish flesh, vegetables, herbs in rice paper and dip in sweet-sour tamarind fish sauce dip. The dish can win the hearts of all ages.