Lighten up your family meal with these amazing Central Vietnam Food

Central Vietnam is widely known as a place with authentic royal cuisine, consisting of many delicious dishes along with a distinct sour & spicy taste. However, not all Central Vietnam food is hard to make. Our “What to eat today?” section will introduce you to an amazing and easy-to-make menu. Let’s start traveling around Central Vietnam with bTaskee, shall we?

Today’s special Central Vietnam menu includes: 

  • Sour Mussel Soup
  • Braised Round scads with Pineapple
  • Squid Salad 
  • Dessert: Hyacinth Bean Sweet Soup

Sour Mussel Soup – Central Vietnam Food

A delicious bowl of Sour Mussel soup from the Central region (source:

“Tiny mussel” is the key to a signature dish of Central Vietnam. Sour mussel soup is also one of Central Vietnam’s specialties. Hearing the name alone can already make you crave for the sour, spicy, and fragrant taste of mussels. To cook a hot bowl of Sour Mussel soup, you need to prepare:


1 Tiny Mussels (fresh, hard shells, closed and moving) 1 kg
2  Tomato2 tomatoes
3  Star fruit1 star fruit
4   Pineapple½ pineapple
5   Okra 7 – 10 okras
6   Shallot2 shallots
7   Green onions, coriander30 gram
8   Garlic2 – 3 cloves 
9   Seasonings (Salt, Black Pepper, Sugar, MSG, fish sauce, cooking oil) 1 teaspoon (each)

Cooking steps 

Step 1: Prepare ingredients 

  • Mussels: clean them carefully with water. Next, soak them in diluted saltwater with some chili slices for 2 hours until the mussels release all of the dirt and sand. Remember to wash them thoroughly since we will use their boiled water as the broth. 
  • Tomatoes: Wash and cut them into 4 or 6.
  • Star fruits: clean them well and cut into slices about 0.5 – 1cm thick.
  • Pineapple: peel and get rid of the core. Cut them into small slices about 0.5cm thick. 
  • Okra: clean with water, cut off the head, and end. Slice them into bite-sized pieces (about 2cm)
  • Green onions, coriander: cut off the old root, wash with water and mince them well. 

Step 2: Boil the mussels

  • Add the mussels into a pot of water and boil it. Once the water boils, turn the heat down and add a pinch of salt. 
  • Simmer until the mussels open their mouth and separate from the shells. Take out the mussel meat and put them into another bowl. Throw away some of the shells and keep the broth simmering. Turn off the heat, filter the broth till clear. 

Step 3: Saute the mussels

  • Heat a pan with some cooking oil. Add garlic and shallots in, stir-fry until golden. Next, add the mussels in. Continue frying until the mussels are cooked completely and turn off the heat. Season to your liking.  

Step 4: Cook the soup

  • Add cooking oil into another pot and half the amount of tomatoes in.
  • Once the tomatoes are cooked, add the mussel broth and diced pineapples in. After the broth boils, pour in the rest of the tomatoes, star-fruits and okras. 
  • Simmer for about 3 – 5 minutes then add the sauteed mussels in. Adjust the taste again.
  • Turn off the heat, add the green onions, and coriander in. Stir slightly to mix every ingredient together. Pour the soup into a classy bowl and bring it to the table.

Braised Round scads with Pineapple – Central Vietnam Food

A Traditional Recipe: Braised Round scads with Pineapple (source:


1   Round scads 3 – 4 fish (about 800g)
2   Tomato2 tomatoes
3   Pineapple½ pineapple
4   Chili pepper2 – 3 chili peppers
5   Shallot2 shallots
6   Green onion3 onions
7   Garlic2 – 3 cloves
8   Ginger1 small ginger
9   Coconut Caramel2 teaspoons
10   Fish Sauce2 tablespoons
11   Cooking oil, Salt, Sugar1 tablespoon (each)

Cooking steps 

Step 1: Prepare ingredients 

  • Round scads: wash well, cut open the fish, remove the intestines, clean the fish with salt to get rid of the smell, then rewash them with water. Cut each fish into 2 or 3 parts.
  • Tomatoes: wash with water and cut into 4 or 6
  • Pineapples: peel and remove the core. Cut them into small pieces about 0.5cm long. 
  • Green onions: cut off the root, wash and dice them well.
  • Garlic, shallot: wash, crush, and mince them. 
  • Ginger: peel and slice them into thin strips.
  • Chili peppers: cut them into 2 parts vertically, remove the seeds. Continue to dice them into strips (about 0.5cm thick) or round rings.

Step 2: Saute the fish

Heat the pan with cooking oil. Fry the round scads on both sides until they’re golden. Take them out and place the fish on a plate.

Step 3: Saute the sauce

Heat another pot and add cooking oil in. Once it’s hot, add garlic and shallots in. Stir-fry them with tomatoes and pineapples. Season to your liking and let it simmer.

Step 4: 

Add the fried round scads with half of the gingers and half the chilies into the pot. Stir well. Then add 1 bowl of water, a sufficient amount of coconut caramel, and a little sugar in the pot (the water must cover your fish).

Step 5: 

  • When the fish is tender, add the rest of the ginger in. 
  • Season the food with some fish sauce and seasonings to your liking. 
  • Let the pot simmer for a few more minutes until the fish absorbs the flavors and turn off the heat. 
  • Pay attention or you will burn the fish when the water evaporates! 
  • Sprinkle some green onions and chilies on top. You can serve this dish on a plate or right in the pot to create a cozy feeling.

Squid Salad – Central Vietnam Food

Squid Salad with fresh herbs (Source:


1   Squid300 gram
2   Onion1 onion 
3   Carrot1 carrot
4   Peanut50 gram
5  Cucumber1 – 2 cucumbers
6  Shallot2 shallots
7   Garlic2 – 3 cloves
8   Ginger1 small ginger
9   Coriander, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Chili50 gram
10   Lemon juice, vinegar2 tablespoons
11   Cooking oil, Sugar, Salt, Fish Sauce, MSG, Sesame Oil1 teaspoon (each)

Cooking steps 

Step 1: Prepare ingredients

  • Squid: clean the squids thoroughly and cut off the ink sack. Wash the squids with a mixture of diluted saltwater and crushed ginger to get rid of the fishy smell. Rewash and let them dry. Cut them into halves, slash diagonally, and cut them into bite-sized pieces.  
  • Carrots: peel and slice into thin strips. You can soak the carrots in cold water to keep them crunchy. 
  • Cucumbers: wash and slice into pieces (about 2 – 3cm long and 0.5 – 1cm thick)
  • Peanuts (fresh): wash with water and let them dry. You can buy already roasted peanuts to save time.
  • Garlic, coriander, chives, cinnamon: cut off the roots and clean with water. Crush and mince the garlic well. You can chop the coriander, chives, cinnamon finely or mince them instead. 
  • Shallots: wash them well, remove the peel, and dice them.
  • Onions: slice them thinly, squeeze slightly with hand to get rid of the smell. Soak them in sugar water and vinegar.
  • Chili peppers: remove the seeds and slice them into thin strips.

Step 2: Saute the squid

  • Heat the pan and add cooking oil. Once it’s hot enough, add minced garlic. Pour the squid in and stir-fry them on high heat so they won’t get chewy,
  • Seasonings: a pinch of salt, sugar, and other seasonings to your liking. 
  • Turn off the heat and stir to blend the flavors together. 

Step 3: Roast the peanuts

  • Heat the pan and add the peanuts in with some salt. Stir-fry them until they’re golden and firm. Turn down the heat so the peanuts could be cooked thoroughly. Next, turn off the stove.
  • Pour the roasted peanuts into a basket, filter the salt and the peel. It’s easier to peel the peanuts while they’re still hot. 
  • Separate them into halves or crush them into crumbles. 

Step 4: Make the sweet & sour dressing

Add 1 spoon with 2 spoons of water, 1 spoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of MSG, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, lemon juice (or vinegar) into a bowl, and mix well, or you can taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking as well.

Step 5: Mix the salad

  • Take the onions out of the sugar water and let them dry. 
  • Use a big bowl and add the squids, onions, carrots, cucumbers, coriander, cilantro, and cinnamon in. Pour the dressing on top and mix thoroughly until every ingredient is marinated evenly. 
  • Put them on a plate and garnish with the roasted peanuts. You can now enjoy this refreshing Central Vietnam salad!

Dessert: Hyacinth Bean Sweet Soup – Central Vietnam Food

Hyacinth Bean Sweet Soup – Central Vietnam Food Recipes you must try this season (Source: Thang Long Hue Restaurant)


1   Hyacinth Bean400 gram
2   Shaved Coconut300 gram
3   White sugar200 gram 
4   Unsweetened milk200 ml
5   Tapioca Starch100 gram
6   Vanilla2 tubes
7   Pandan leaves4 leaves

Cooking steps 

Step 1: Prepare ingredients

  • Hyacinth beans: get rid of the spoiled ones. Soak them in water for about 8 hours to let them soften (you can soak them the night before). Next, pour the beans in a basket and remove the peel. 
  • Shaved coconut: you can rinse them with hot water or squeeze them with cold water. Remember to use just enough water or the coconut milk would be bland. You can buy coconut milk in the market as well.
  • Tapioca starch: dissolve the starch with just enough cool water (using hot water will make the starch clump together. 

Step 2: Steam the beans

Put the beans in the steamer and steam for 30 minutes. Steam it until the beans are soft, tender, and fragrant. Take the beans out and let them cool down.

Step 3: Make the Coconut Milk

  • Heat the pot and boil the coconut milk. Add the pack of pandan leaves in.
  • When the coconut milk boils, add unsweetened milk and take the pandan leaves out. 
  • Next, slowly pour a little tapioca starch liquid with 2 tubes of vanilla extract in the pot. Stir well on low heat until the milk thickens.

Step 4: Make the sweet soup

  • Heat another pot with 600ml of water and 200 gram of sugar with the rest of the tapioca starch liquid. Stir them evenly to blend the flavors together. 
  • Once the sugar dissolves, add the beans in and continue stirring until the soup thickens. Turn off the heat and let it simmer.
  • Scoop the beans into small bowls, add a spoon of coconut milk on top and the dessert is finished. Let’s enjoy it!

This cuisine might seem complicated to execute but if you put your heart into cooking, these Central specialties are not that difficult to make at all. Then what are you waiting for? Let’s cook your family traditional Central Vietnam food to reminisce about our culture during this tiring quarantine!

One of the most essential parts of a great meal is the fresh and fragrant ingredients, preferably bought on the same day as the cooking process. However, during this pandemic, going to the market for groceries daily is too hard a task for any of us. How are we going to solve this then?

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