The delicious fresh seafood caught from the Hai Hoa sea is our source of inspiration for a culinary journey to seek out the gifts of the ocean.
Hai Hoa (Tinh Gia, Thanh Hoa) is not only well-known for its peaceful sprawling beaches with incoming ships laden with a fresh catch of fish and shrimp, but also its lush green fields and winding village pathways where you will see cows leisurely grazing. The stunning sunrise greets you when awoken by the noise of a distant early morning market where you will be amazed by a scene of baskets of meaty shrimp and crabs which have just been unloaded from the ships, along with immense tubs filled with succulent cuttlefish or baskets of silver and blue scaled fish sparkling in the sunlight. Everything is so fresh and delicious that the early morning market-goers buy up as much as possible.
Inspired by an appreciation of the precious ingredients harvested from the ocean, a lot of effort is always put into creating impressively good food.
Taking the delightful white meat and coral red roe of the crabs and combining them with luscious green sticky rice and secret spices, the mixture is then placed back into the crab shells. Afterwards, they are baked on a bright red fire until the meat turns deliciously golden in colour and aromatic smells waft through the air. The crab meat awakes all human senses thanks to its salty taste of the ocean, while the familiar scent of the green sticky rice and hot charcoal evoke memories of a sunset over the paddy fields of our homeland.
Manchurian wild rice which is harvested precisely at the right time will be plump, crunchy, and slightly sweet, so only needs to be simply prepared to retain its original flavour. Fresh giant tiger prawns have their shells removed and are then stir-fried with the Manchurian wild rice and garlic chives. This dish is served hot, having a soft yet crunchy texture and is sweet with a fragrant aromatic scent from the fried shrimp tails.
Another enticing option is an aromatic grilled dish of shelled shrimp skewered on small lemongrass stalks and cooked over red-hot coals. Then a secret spice is revealed, Tay Ninh shrimp salt, which is spicy and offers the scent of shrimps dried under the bright sun. It is sprinkled on the shrimp releasing its aroma over the grill.
All seasonal ingredients like the green sticky rice of Hanoi or Manchurian wild rice of Nam Dinh are combined gracefully and harmoniously with seafood from the Hai Hoa sea, creating an exceptional culinary symphony of the flavours of the different lands.
In the evening, under a starry sky by the breezy beach, we gathered around the fire for warmth and enjoyed the food we spent the whole day preparing. Huddled in our warm jackets we were all hungry, so on smelling the fragrant food our emotions were lightened by the generous array of grilled seafood, with the highlights being the crabs filled with green sticky rice, the Manchurian wild rice stir-fried with shrimp and garlic chives, and the Tay Ninh shrimp skewered on lemongrass. All the treats were so delicious and full of ocean flavours. We ate and drank, told each other our funny stories and laughed, we had fun together that night, it seemed like our happiness was harmonized with the joyful sounds of the waves.
After all, we found out the greatest gift of the ocean is not only the exquisite fresh ingredients caught from the sea, nor is it only the food prepared with meticulous effort, but above all, it is the happy smiles we shared with each other that beautiful evening. The ocean and a passion for culinary delights brought us together to share the gifts of the sea with many others.
THE ARTICLE CONTAINS EXCLUSIVE CONTENT PROVIDED BY LUK LAK RESTAURANT.
4A, Le Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi.
0943 143 686