Vietnam has a huge system of rivers and channels of over 41,900 km and a long coast of 3,444 km. It is a great chance to enjoy a wide range of delicious and healthy foods from water animals, including shellfishes which contain high amounts of protein, fats and minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, vitamin B12 and others. Shrimp (Tôm), Crab (Cua), Lobster (Tôm càng), Squid (Mực), Oyster (Hàu), Scallop (sò) and Snail (Ốc) are popular edible crustaceans and mollusks – two categories of shellfishes in Vietnam. There are countless shellfish recipes including complex ones in the world. The most popular recipes for shellfishes in Vietnam are simple but amazingly tasty. This is an ultimate guide to Top Shellfish Dishes in Vietnam for foodies who are going to visit Vietnam and keen on eating yummy Vietnamese dishes from shellfishes.
Shrimp (Tôm) and Lobster (Tôm càng)
Shrimps and lobsters are the most favorite seafood of Vietnamese people and foreigners in the country. One of the most popular methods of cooking these shellfishes is grilling with salt and chili. Other recommended shrimp recipes are Shrimp with salted duck egg yolk and Grilled shrimp (lobster) with coconut water.
There is no doubt that Crab is one of the top shellfish dishes in Vietnam thanks to rich nutrients, firm and sweet tasty meat and greasy crab roe. Grilling is the most favorite and simple method of cooking crabs in Vietnam. Stir-fried crab with tamarind sauce and Curried crab are two worth-trying Vietnamese crab recipes
Ocean crab (Ghẹ)
Boiled ocean crab is one of the greatest dishes from this kind of shellfish. Toasted ocean crab leg with chili and salt is popular at snail restaurants in the country. Fried rice with ocean crab meat is one of the most delicious fried rice dishes in Vietnam.
Squid (Mực) and Octopus (Bạch tuột)
Grilled squid (or octopus) on charcoal is a great seafood dish in Vietnam. In addition, Steamed squid with green onion and Grilled stuffed squid with pork and vegetable are yummy Vietnamese seafood dishes.
Clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops are favorite foods in Vietnam. Most of them are usually used to cook delicious, comfortable and healthy congees which are good for children and adults. Congees do not go well with beer. Raw oyster and grilled Clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops with cheese/green onion oil are great foods to eat while drinking beer or talking together. In addition, they are also used to cook stir-fries and salads.
In Vietnam, some people prefer to eat raw oyster meat with soy sauce and mustard. Grilled oyster with cheese (or green onion oil) is very popular at seafood and snail restaurants.
Lyrate asiatic hard clam (Nghêu)
Lyrate asiatic hard clam meat has a delicious and savory flavor, it is tender and chewy at the same time. So that it has been a favorite ingredient for cooking lots of dishes. In Vietnam, they rarely grill clams but steamed them with lemongrass or served with hot pots.
Noble scallop (Sò điệp)
Many Vietnamese people believe that the nutrient-dense and tasty Noble scallop is the top 1 scallop in Vietnam. Grilled noble scallop with cheese/scallion and oil,Noble scallop congee, Stir-fried noble scallop are healthy and flavorful dishes which should not be missed in Vietnam.
Blood cockle (Sò huyết)
Blood cockle is more expensive and nutritious than other scallops and mussels in Vietnam because it is rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc. The great foods from blood cockle include Stir-fried blood cockle with garlic/tamarind sauce/morning glory and Grilled blood cockle, Blood cockle congee.
Anadara kagoshimensis (Sò lông)
In Vietnam, Anadara kagoshimensis is called Sò lông, which literally means Hair scallop because of the thin brown periostracum layer covering the shell flakes off in strands. The flesh of this scallop is more chewy than the meat of clam. The most popular dishes from Sò lông include Grilled Anadara kagoshimensis with green onion oil and peanut, Anadara kagoshimensis salad with carrot/banana blossom.
Atrina seminuda (Sò mai)
Atrina seminuda (Sò mai) is a large half-naked pen shell, its meat is white and a little chewy. There are many methods of cooking Sò mai, the most popular one at Vietnamese restaurant is grilling with chopped green onion and oil.
Mytilus californianus (Chem chép)
Mytilus californianus (Chem chép) is a large edible mussel which meat is tender and a little chewy. Some people say that it is not as flavorful as Noble scallop and Lyrate asiatic hard clam. However, this mussel is served popularly at snail stalls thanks to the cheap price and great taste.
Paphia undulata (Sò lụa)
The most popular Vietnamese food from Paphia undulata is Grilled Paphia undulata with green onion.
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Vasticardium elongatum (Sò dương)
Vietnamese people usually cook congee, stir-fries, steamed and grilled dishes from Vasticardium elongatum (Sò dương).
Sweet snail (Ốc hương)
Sweet snail is known as the Queen of snail in Vietnam because raw and cooked Ốc hương has an attractive smell, its flesh is tasty and healthy. Common dishes from sweet snail include Toasted/grilled sweet snail with salt and chili. Snails are rarely eaten in many countries but they are favorites of a large number of Vietnamese people. So that snails can not be missed when listing the top shellfish dishes in Vietnam. Other edible snails include Razor clam, Garlic snail, Melo melo, etc. Read more about Top Snails and Snail Dishes in Vietnam.
Where to eat the Top Shellfish Dishes in Vietnam?
Foods from shellfish are served at many Vietnamese restaurants, especially seafood restaurants and snail restaurants. Shrimp is the most popular, customers can find them in restaurant menus at most of the restaurants for tourists and local restaurants. Seafood restaurants in some big cities such as Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Da Nang specialize in seafood, they offer a wide range of choices including fishes and shellfishes. However, snail restaurants are the best places to eat snails, scallops, mussels and oysters.