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Blue jellyfish: A summer sensation for Vietnamese foodies

Friday, April 12, 2024, 10:41 GMT+7
Blue jellyfish: A summer sensation for Vietnamese foodies
'Con nuốc' is small in shape and has a light blue hue. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

Con nuốc, or nuốc (Catostylus townsendi), has become Vietnam’s newest culinary sensation, with many praising it as an indispensable summer delicacy.

Catostylus townsendi is a unique species of jellyfish considered to be a specialty in central Vietnam, especially in Hue City. 

Only recently have viral videos of the dish transformed it into a culinary fad for foodies across the country.

Local culinary forums and social networks are bustling with photos and videos describing the taste, eating methods, and origins of con nuốc.

Con nuốc is most commonly eaten during the summer when it floats on the brackish lagoons in Hue.

During this time, con nuốc individuals emerge in patches on the water’s surface where they are scooped up, soaked in buckets of brackish water with ice, and brought to the market for sale.

They exhibit different shades of blue depending on the type of water they are found in, locals said. 

'Con nuốc' (Catostylus townsendi) is served with herbs and green roxburgh at a family meal in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

'Con nuốc' (Catostylus townsendi) is served with herbs and green roxburgh at a family meal in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

First-time con nuốc eaters are often split in their opinions on whether the dish tastes similar to typical jellyfish courses. 

Like jellyfish, con nuốc is best enjoyed fresh and raw like sashimi.

The hood is typically praised for its succulence, while the arm is favored for its crispiness.

A common method to savor con nuốc is by dipping it in mắm ruốc pha tỏi ớt (fermented acetes paste mixed with chili and garlic), and pairing it with herbs and essential slices of trái vả (green roxburgh fig).

'Con nuốc' (Catostylus townsendi) is served with herbs and green roxburgh at a family meal in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

'Con nuốc' (Catostylus townsendi) is served with herbs and green roxburgh at a family meal in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

Con nuốc is also used to make salad or as a topping for a Hue dish called bún giấm nuốc.

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Ho Lam - Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

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