While in Nha Trang, we’ve had the chance to sample several Vietnamese clay pot dishes. Somehow, I love the idea of cooking food in a clay pot. It sounds so organic. The cooking technique requires soaking the pot in water for about 30 minutes before the food is added. Once the pot is heated in the oven, the water absorbed in the pot turns into steam which helps the meat or fish retain its natural juices and flavors. And I have to say, it definitely works.
Our first night out, we had delicious wild duck served with whole cloves of garlic and sizable shallots in an unglazed pot. It felt like we were being treated to a special, home-made dinner rather than being served from a menu in what must be one of Nha Trang’s most touristy restaurants, the Truc Linh 2. (Yes, it’s touristy, but the food is great.)
Our favorite clay pot dish, however, was the delicious caramelized mackerel at Lemongrass Restaurant. The dark caramelized sauce adds a slightly sweet flavor to the succulent chunks of fish cooked with bits of tomato and plenty of onion. The dishes are best eaten with steamed rice or, my absolute favorite, sticky rice.