Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Soup

Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Soup

Vietnamese sweet and sour soup (Canh chua) is a comfortable, healthy and delicious food. Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Soup has four basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty and spicy. This soup help to warm dinner’s body on cold and rainy days and beat the heat from dinner’s body on summer days. It is a favorite food of many households for meals at home. Ingredients of Vietnamese sweet and sour soup are meat/fish/shrimp/seafood, many kinds of vegetables, herbs and spices. So that it is a wonderful mix of textures, flavors and aromas.

Recipes are various, they depends on local ingredients and preferences. Vietnamese people can cook this soup from meat, fish, shrimp and seafood. There are hundreds of vegetables which could be used to cook Sweet and sour soup. While in North Vietnam, they usually use dracontomelon or fermented steamed rice to make the soup sour, in South and Central Vietnam they usually use tamarind. They can also  use star fruit, lemon juice, vinegar. People in North Vietnam fry fish before putting it into broth while Southern and Central people put raw fish into water to cook the soup’s broth.

It’s simple to cook Canh Chua, just cook fish/meat/shrimp/seafood in water with salt, sour spice, pineapple (optional) until well-done but not very tender, then add vegetables. Vietnamese sweet and sour soup is usually served in soup bowl and eaten with steamed rice (or rice noodles), fish sauce topped with chili pepper slices.

In Mekong Delta where there is a complex system of rivers and channels with lots of fishes, local people often cook Sweet an sour soup with fresh fishes and specialty vegetables. Snakehead is a favorite fish to cook Canh chua for great texture and depth of flavor. Sour taste comes from fresh tamarind or preserved tamarind, tomato and pineapple. Pineapple and sugar make the broth sweet.

Various kinds of fresh vegetables to cook Canh chua in Mekong Delta

Cooking fish with pineapple, tamarind until well-done


Adding vegetables after meat/fish is well-done but not very tender. Cooking vegetable for a few minutes so that they don’t turn too tender and loose vitamins

Serving colorful and flavorful Canh chua Mekong Delta with fish in soup bowl.  Eating with steamed rice (or rice noodles), dipping in fish sauce with some chili pepper slices

Why not try our Mekong Delta Tour (My Tho Ben Tre) Full Day?

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