Having no scale and shining skin, Loi fish (Cá lồi, Ca loi) looks like Rajiformes. A large number of Loi fishes can be caught in August and September in the Lunar calendar in Central Vietnam provinces such as Binh Thuan. A big oi fish weighs about 5 kg. Local people usually cook Sweet and sour soup with Loi fish, Braised Loi fish with lemongrass and chili pepper, Stir-fried Loi fish, Loi fish with onion oil, etc. Loi fish with onion oil (Cá lồi xối mỡ) is one of the most excellent recipes from Loi fish. It is a must-eat dish in Phan Thiet city.
Choose 2-kg Loi fish which has tender and sweet-tasty flesh and tender cartilage. Use lemongrass leaves to remove odor and slime from the skin of the fish. Remove all of the organs of the fish, except for the liver. The fish is sliced thinly, arranged onto a plate, and steamed until tender. Or steam the whole fish until tender. Pour green onion oil onto the steamed fish, sprinkle some crushed toasted peanuts onto the fish.
It is served hot with vegetables (star-fruit, green banana), herbs, rice paper, rice noodles, sweet-sour dipping fish sauce (or tamarind fish sauce dip). To eat, wrap a piece of fish, vegetables, herbs, rice noodles in rice paper, dip in the sauce and tuck in. Some people prefer to put the liver into the dip, beat the dip and liver to make the dip buttery and greasy. You can feel the greasy taste of the onion oil, crunchy taste of the cartilage, the tenderness of the fish flesh, juicy vegetables, a little chewy rice noodles, sweet and sour dipping sauce in your mouth.
Loi fish with onion oil is a very healthy, delicious and comfort dish. Although Phan Thiet has many dishes from fishes and seafood, Loi fish with onion oil has its own place in the cuisine of the city. Do not miss this food on your trip to the beautiful Phan Thiet.
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