"Vả trộn" A Taste of the Ancient Capital's Flavors to Remember Forever
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In Hue, tourists often feel overwhelmed by the intricate royal cuisine, which is both visually stunning and deliciously nutritious. However, the Hue cuisine is diverse, reflected in many common dishes that, though simple, are very refined and memorable. "Vả trộn" is one of them.

"Vả trộn" is a traditional Vietnamese dish, especially popular in the Thần Kinh region. It consists of fermented shrimp paste mixed with various ingredients such as garlic, chili, sugar, and lime juice. The dish is characterized by its strong, pungent flavor and is often served as a condiment or dipping sauce alongside fresh vegetables, meats, or seafood. "Vả trộn" adds a unique and bold taste to Vietnamese cuisine and is beloved by many for its distinctive flavor profile.

The fruit of the fig and the fruit of the water chestnut are very similar in appearance, with green skins, white flesh, and a pink interior, but the fruit and leaves of the water chestnut are smaller. Both water chestnuts and figs are edible, but water chestnuts have a slightly bitter taste, while figs have a richer, nuttier, and more aromatic flavor.


In the past, "vả trộn" was served on festive occasions and during Tet (Lunar New Year) celebrations. However, nowadays, tourists visiting Hue can easily find this dish in upscale restaurants or casual eateries.

In fact, this specialty of Hue is prepared simply and with inexpensive ingredients. Besides figs, people in Hue often add shrimp, meat, spring onions, coriander, and a bit of sesame and peanuts. All the ingredients are mixed together, seasoned with appropriate spices, and then served on a plate.

The completed dish of Hue-style mixed fermented shrimp paste is often served alongside crispy grilled rice paper instead of using a spoon as usual. The flavor of the shrimp paste is slightly salty and nutty, combined with the sweetness of shrimp, meat, and roasted peanuts. This combination surprises and leaves a lasting impression on anyone who tastes it for the first time, making it unforgettable.

As it is a common dish, mixed fermented shrimp paste usually costs around 60,000 - 70,000 Vietnamese dong (including shrimp and meat). This serving is meant for 4 - 5 people, making it a reasonable price in a tourist city like Hue.