Raw fish salad, a Phu Quoc delicacy

Thanh Nien News

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At this time of year, the adventurous fish aficionado can easily negotiate to follow fishermen to sea to catch cá ngân (yellowtail scad), bring the catch home and make the delicious dish.
Yellowtail scad season in Phu Quoc peaks in August.
To get in on the action, head to Khem Beach. Here, the sea's quite calm, almost entirely without waves. Local fishermen say that schools of the fish are literally leaping out of the water around the island.
They only need spread out their nets offshore and wait. When the schools of scad swim toward the island and pivot back, they find themselves caught.
At this time of year, a lucky fisherman can pull in as much as 20 kilograms in a single haul--naturally, scad are widely available at market.
But buying the fish just isn't nearly as fun as catching them yourself.
The fastest and easiest way to make a dish of yellowtail scad is to grill them.
Just toss the whole fish in a mixture of pounded chillis and salt.
All you have to do next is lay the fish out over some glowing coals and grill them medium to preserve the meat's sweetness.
The most delicious scad dish under the sun, however, is gỏi (raw fish salad).
Start by filleting each fish and macerating them into a bowl of lemon juice--ceviche style.
Then add them to a salad of sliced onions, chopped celery, rice paddy herb, coriander, shredded coconut and sliced chilli.
Finally, add a dash of ground roasted peanuts and fried shallots.
A few sprigs of wild vegetables ("forest herbs"), native to Phu Quoc Island, add a nice bitterness to the mix--but aren't absolutely necessary.
This salad has everything: the sweetness, saltiness and sourness of the fresh fish, the richness of the peanuts and coconut meat, a kick from the chilli and the tartness of the vegetables.

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