“Canh chua” (literally “sour soup”) is indigenous to the Mekong Delta region but has spreaded widely to other part of the country.
It is typically made with fish from fresh water, pineapple, tomatoes, and sometimes other vegetables such as okra or peppermint, and bean sprouts, in a tamarind-flavored broth. Canh chua is garnished with the lemony-scented herb “ngò ôm” (Limnophila aromatica), caramelized garlic, and chopped scallions, as well as other herbs to lessen the strong flavour of fresh fish. Depending on the specific variety of “canh chua”; these other herbs may include” rau răm” (Vietnamese coriander), “ngò gai “(long coriander), and” rau quế” (Thai basil).
The sour taste of the soup can come from various sources such as pickled vegetables, fresh fruits like tamarind, sour leaves or vinegar. They are mixed with a small amount of hot water; the mixture is then stirred for a few moments to release all the essence, and the liquid (minus the fruit seeds and other solids, which are discarded) is then added to the soup.
There are many types of “canh chua” but the idea are similar. Some Canh chua can include baby clams or ribs instead of fish or meat balls. Canh chua is best served cool during the over-heated summer of Vietnam.