My Dad´s Clam Soup

One of the special features about Vietnamese cooking is the extensive use of fresh herbs. If you ever have a chance to visit a market in Vietnam, you will be amazed at the wide varieties available. So many even I sometimes feel a little lost. But no worry, I just have to tell the name or describe what I want to cook, the sellers will give me the exact herbs needed.

However, having a lot of herbs available does not mean you can mix or overuse them altogether. Using herbs is an art that a lot of cuisines have mastered after generations. It is also true for the Vietnamese kitchen. Sinece childhood I have learnt from my parents what to go with what – poached chicken with lime leaves, fish with ginger and galangal, veal with lemongrass, fish with dill etc. Of course there is room for improvements and innovations as long as there is harmony in taste and aroma in the final product.

The soup I feature today is very popular in northern Vietnam during summer. Here, the use of Vietnamese mint (Laksa leaves or rau ram) is a must. You may want to substitute Vietnamese mint with something else, but it won´t be the same. I once showed the picture of this soup to a Vietnamese lady now lives in Europe. She recognized straight away what it was: Clam Soup with Vietnamese Mint. This, for sure, is a classic combination of Viet home-cooking. I love the refreshing taste of clam juice and the spicy hint of Vietnamese mint here. Highly recommended to seafood lovers!

Almost all Vietnamese cooks (especially people from the North) know how to cook this soup. The recipe below, however, is dedicated to my dad since he was the one who taught me the dish. My dad loves and cooks excellent seafood. I miss his food, really!

Clam Soup with Vietnamese Mint (Canh h

10 Responses to My Dad´s Clam Soup

  1. Kalyn says:

    This sounds very wonderful to me. I love tamarind and I like all the Vietnamese broth type soups I’ve tried such as the dish my favorite local Vietnamese restaurant calls Sour Tamarind Shrimp Broth. I saw this type of mint once in California, but I haven’t ever seen it here. I’m curious as to how it’s different from other mints.

  2. Angie says:

    This soup looks simply refreshing. I love clear soups like this, such as Tom Yum soup. Just to check again, Vietnamese mint = laksa leaves? Coz it looks slightly different from the local version here.

  3. Anh says:

    Kalyn, the Vietnamese mint is hotter and has a peppery note. Actually it bears little resemblence to the normal mint. Not sure why it is called Vietnamese Mint?

  4. Gattina says:

    Anh, your write-up is excellent, it leads me the imagination that I’m browsing an open market in Vietnam and catching the herb aroma in the air! I’m a big fan of clam too!

  5. Precious Moments says:

    yum yum yum, next trip to Singapore, drop by my place!!!!!

  6. Helene says:

    That looks delicious. I´m a fan of clams. And peppermint. Although I didn´t come across yours. Perhaps some time. :)

  7. Lydia says:

    This is my favorite kind of soup — light and a bit tart. I’ll have to look in my Asian supermarket for the laksa leaves, which I’m sure they have though I’ve never bought this type of mint. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. sher says:

    That looks lovely to me. I remember the first time I had Vietnamese food. It was years ago, and I fell totally in love with it. Lucky for me, there are so many great Vietnamese restaurants here. But, I love to cook recipes like your father’s soup. I must find some Vietnamese mint–or grow it. Thanks for that!!!

  9. Anna says:

    any seafood soup with a tamarind base can hook me in. the sourness compliments the saltiness of seafood so well and add fresh herbs into the mix – sublime.

  10. Andaliman says:

    Everytime I go to my favorite oriental store, I see raw ram. I just wondered how to use it in cooking, now I know. Thank you Anh

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