This recipe comes to us courtesy of Caroline Foster’s blog, Galley Pirates, a great resource for cruising chefs và landlubbers alike. Find more great recipes at

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*"s Zach Ditmars caught the 31-inch northern snakehead at Blackwater NWR in Cambridge, MD, that was prepared for this dish. 

Snakeheads are an invasive Chesapeake species indigenous khổng lồ Asia. They have firm trắng meat similar to tilapia or cod & are a staple in many Asian dishes. A restaurant in Hanoi with its namesake has been operating for over 130 years & serves only one dish, Chả Cá Lã Vọng. There’s an old Vietnamese saying that this is “one dish you need lớn try before you die!”


Cha Cá Lã Vong Marinade:

4 snakehead fish filets (or tilapia, hake or cod)3 inches fresh turmeric2 inches fresh ginger (or galangal)2 tsp fish sauce (nuoc mam)2 tbsp canola oil1 tsp salt10 scallions1-2 cups fresh dill

Nuoc Cham:

1/4 cup fish sauce (nuoc mam)3-4 garlic cloves, pressed2-3 cayenne peppers, minced1/3 cup fresh lime juice2 tbsp sugar (superfine works best)1 tbsp water

To Serve:

1 pkg Vietnamese or bầu rice noodles1 head bibb or Boston lettuce1/2 cup cilantro leaves1/2 cup thai basil leaves1/2 cup mint leaves1/2 cup peanuts (roasted, salted, coursely chopped)


Cha Cá Lã Vong:

1. Cut the snakehead into two-inch pieces.

Grate the tumeric và ginger into a paste. Photos courtesy Caroline Foster

2. Next, make the paste of turmeric & ginger. It’s best lớn wear gloves to avoid turmeric stains. With a food processor or fine grater, grate the fresh turmeric và ginger into a paste. You’ll want to end up with about a half cup. Transfer to lớn a stainless-steel or glass bowl. địa chỉ the powdered turmeric & fish sauce. Place the snakehead chunks in the marinade and rub mixture all over fish. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

Place the snakehead chunks in the marinade.

3. Chop the scallions into two- to lớn three-inch pieces. Slice lengthwise into long slivers. Roughly chop the dill, removing large stems. Mince the mint, thai basil, & cilantro.

4. Cha Cá Lã Vong is traditionally pre-cooked by grilling or baking before frying, but it’s not necessary lớn pre-cook. Preheat your oven khổng lồ 400 degrees. Lay a non-stick sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Bake in your preheated oven for eight to lớn 10 minutes. Remove khổng lồ a dish while you prepare the rice noodles and stir fry.

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5. Bring a pot of water to lớn a boil. Place the rice noodles in the water and boil until al dente, about five minutes. Drain.

6. Place bibb lettuce on individual plates. With tongs, lay cooked rice noodles on the lettuce.

In a large skillet, fry the snakehead pieces. 

7. In a large skillet, heat up the canola oil. Fry the snakehead pieces for one to lớn two minutes per side. Showroom the dill & scallions, turn off the heat, and stir the ingredients together until the greens have softened a bit.

8. With tongs, place the thân phụ Cá Lã Vong on each plate, on đứng đầu of the noodles. địa chỉ cửa hàng chopped peanuts, minced cilantro, thai basil, and mint on top, và serve with spoonfuls of nuoc cham.

Nuoc Cham:

9. Juice 1 lime. Press the garlic cloves & mince the cayenne peppers. Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well. Refrigerate.