Crispy and fragrant fish from Muong Hum streamI returned to the beautiful land of Muong Hum in the middle of autumn with the color of ripe rice on terraced fields. I don't know since when Muong Hum stream existed, but that stream is like the soul of the land imbued with cultural identity. Back in Muong Hum, I was invited by the friend who is the teacher here to enjoy a specialty dish from that famous stream and I will remember forever: Muong Hum stream fish.
Stream fish is the specialty dish of Muong Hum land.
The people of Muong Hum still have a saying that anyone who comes to Muong Hum and has not eaten stream fish is considered not to have come to this land. It is said that Muong Hum stream fish is very delicious, representing the cuisine of the whole land, which is rich in indigenous culture. Coming to Muong Hum, if visitors can experience following the people here to catch stream fish, nothing is as interesting as compared to. In the small streams with bottlenecks, the young people just need to stack stones to block a stream, slap the water dry and then flip the rocks up to catch many small stream fish, such as goby, red-tailed goby, fish cleft nose, white stream fish... For deep streams, using fishing or small nets can catch carp, perch, even flower fish, some weighing more than 1 kg. Now, when the hydroelectric dam raises water, turning the stream through the center of the commune into a clear blue lake, some households still use small boats to catch fish from streams along the banks. Ms. Phuong, a resident from Muong Hum commune who specializes in selling specialty items here, said that Muong Hum stream fish is not much now, but it is the best specialty fish in the region, so even though it sells for more than 200,000 VND/kg, it is also difficult to buy if you do not order in advance.
Muong Hum market on Sundays was crowded like merry and having many colorful brocade, the people rushed to go to the market, go shopping, buying, meeting each other. My friend who works as a teacher here pulled me into a small shop in the market with a view overlooking the blue Muong Hum stream to enjoy the cuisine here. The owner of the Giay restaurant with white skin, smile as bright as a flower, introduced a bunch of fresh stream fish to the guests, cleaned it, and poured it into a pan of boiling oil on the charcoal stove. Soon, a plate of crispy stream fish was displayed on the tray. "Natural stream fish in Muong Hum must have many types, big and small, but if the fish is evenly distributed, it's lake fish, or brought back to you by farmed fish elsewhere," the owner has "revealed" to us, not to forget to put fish in each bowl and pour a cup of fragrant rice wine to invite guests.
I tried a finger-sized fish. Fried fish dipped in chili fish sauce with ginger, spicy garlic, crunchy in the mouth, sweet aroma spreaded in the mouth, delicious and irresistible. Along with deep-fried stream fish, the owner also skillfully prepared for us a plate of braised stream fish with soft bones and rich flavor and a bowl of stream fish cooked with sour bamboo shoots. Oh my god, the sweet fish taste mixed with the sour and light taste of bamboo shoots made people want to eat forever without getting bored. My friend told me that the next time of coming to Muong Hum to stay longer, he would take me to enjoy grilled Muong Hum stream fish by the stream or delicious dried stream fish with smoke that very few places can have. The small Muong Hum stream fish can cook so many delicious dishes. I said goodbye to Muong Hum but still remembering the fresh blue stream and the dishes made from the stream fish that are both quintessential and full of flavor in this countryside land.