March is Russian Sturgeon month at the Coca Suki chain in Ho Chi Minh City, where the fatty fish will be served up alongside rich caviar just like they do it in Moscow.
Sturgeon is highly prized by fish connoisseurs in Russia and throughout the world due to its unique, some might say strange, flavor. Sturgeon meat is white, tough, soft, sweet, and fatty.
The fish is also perfect for those who shy away from bones as the sturgeon is completely free from bones and has just cartilage instead.
At Coca Suki Restaurant, customers can also buy the sturgeons and bring them home to cook for VND55,000 per 100 grams. Or they can enjoy sturgeon delicacies prepared by the restaurant's expert chef for VND198,000 a plate.
The plates come prepared as either a sashimi salad, grilled sturgeon with salt and chili or sturgeon cartilage used in a hot pot along rice vermicelli noodles.
The sashimi salad is appealing because the dish keeps the authentic sweetness of fresh fish. This is often chosen as an appetizer.
The grilled sturgeon with salt and chili is not "fishy" at all. The dish attracts customers because of the aroma of the grilled fatty meat and crispy skin. Although the fish skin is crispy, the meat is still white, soft and juicy. This is perhaps the sturgeon's biggest advantage over other fish.
The sturgeon's cartilage is also special when used to cook Tom Yum (Thai sour soup) hot pot. The hot pot is eaten with vegetables, mushrooms, noodles and seafood.
The sturgeon can also be crispy-fried and dipped in orange sauce. The sourness and sweetness of the orange sauce excites the taste buds.
Apart from the actual fish sturgeon, the caviar from the sturgeon is also a favorite among fish-egg connoisseurs as it contains lots of DHA, omega-6 fatty acids and other vitamins.
This month, the Coca Suki at New World Hotel Saigon also introduces caviar to customers at the Parkview Restaurant in the hotel.
Beluga caviar is the most expensive but the ossetra and sevruga caviar are also good.
"This is the first time our restaurant serves Vietnamese caviar and we believe that our customers will enjoy the dish with Laurent Perrier Champagne," said director of food and beverage Matthias Widor.
The caviar is served at lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday in Parkview Restaurant in New World Hotel Saigon. The restaurant will also serve ossetra caviar for VND885,000++ or US$48++ per 20 grams.
Vietnam raises lots of sturgeon every year. Because they can live in temperature ranging from 18 to 25 Celsius degrees in clean water and eat suitable food, Vietnam breeds them in Lam Dong, Binh Thuan and Yen Bai provinces. There, sturgeon fish reach average weights of 2.7 kilogram at 18 months.
To enjoy the dishes made with sturgeon and caviar, go to the following restaurants in HCMC:
Coca Suki Restaurant
1820 Mac Thi Buoi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Tel: (08) 3 824 6688
(08) 3 824 3416
New World Hotel Saigon, 76 Le Lai Street, District 1