CRAB CLAWS WITH CHILLI SALT
CÀNG CUA R A N G MU I T| 534 V˜nh Khánh Street, District 4 | VND 200,000 AUD $12.00
While not a step-by-step recipe, this crab claw with chilli salt is something you could do at home, or hop a plane and visit the restaurant! Either way, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the experience!
In Saigon, much of the interest for visitors is in District 1 and tourists inevitably end up spending a lot of time there. While it’s a great place to hang out, shop and eat, if you truly want to go native, you should head to District 4. It’s not far from District 1, distance-wise, but light years away in terms of how local and authentic it feels.
My tip is go to 534 V nh Khánh Street to a restaurant called c Oanh, where you’ll find some of the best seafood offerings in the entire city. They cook many delicious dishes but this crab claw one is a standout for me.
To cook it they take a whole pile of crab claws, quickly steam them, then toss them in a big pot with copious amounts of dried and fresh chilli, white pepper and a ton of salt; the flavours infuse the crab. That’s it.
Incredibly simple and so addictively tasty. Bargain! If you go there, have the grilled scallops with spring onion (scallion) and peanuts, the chargrilled octopus and chickens’ feet and the simmered snails too (‘ c’ means ‘snails’ and they simmer them in sweet, fragrant, fresh coconut milk). The whole place is busy, fun and loud, and as you eat, busking performers come by and entertain.
This is an edited extract from Street Food Asia byLuke Nguyen published by Hardie Grant Books RRP AU$39.99/ NZ$44.99 and is available in stores nationally. Photographer: ©Alan Benson