Unlike the cooking classes of other Halong Bay Cruises, which usually introduce common Vietnamese spring roll, cooking class at Sealife Legend is beyond a class or a demonstration, it’s a journey to the life upon the sea, as the name of the cruise with the extraordinary recipe of “Cuon Ca Thinh” (Fresh roll with raw fish, grinded fried rice, herbs and special sauces). Mr. Bui Duc Long, who is the owner of Sealife Group has his own passion with the sailing boats on Halong Bay.
Thus, he would like to create very authentic cruises which are telling guests true story of the locals, let them experience the essence of sea life. He said that “Cuon Ca Thinh” is one of the two common dish of fishermen in the past, who used to live and work on Halong Bay. The other is sour seafood soup. The origin of the fresh fish roll was very basic roll with some common seasonal herbs and any kind of fish that fishermen caught from the sea. Fishermen in Halong Bay stayed in their rustic boat for weeks, even months for fishing, thus they always keep some kind of sauce and herbs and especially the grinded fried rice onboard to cook various quick dishes. Whenever they caught a fish, you can make the “Cuon Ca Thinh” with some simple ingredient onboard.
The simple dish of “Cuon Ca Thinh” which travelers call “the Vietnamese Sashimi” turns out to tell us an interesting story of the Vietnamese fishermen. The cooking class onboard Sealife Legend is set up in the Dragon Legend Restaurant on the third deck of Sealife Legend Cruise. In the cozy atmosphere of the restaurant, guests are presented about the origin and meaning of the dished and also witness the demostration of cruise Head Chef with this special secret of cooking skill. An assistant of the Chef will show you all the ingredients of the dishes with the main ingredients are fresh fish (normally a kind of local bass fish), grinded fried rice and various kind of fresh herbs and sauce such as tamarine, mustard, fish sauce, etc. Among them, grinded fried rice is the most important ingredient with typical taste and very good smell. It is a special ingredient popular in the North of Vietnam.
The reason to use grinded fried rice in this “Cuon Ca Thinh” is that it will drain all water in the slice of raw fish. Some kind of herbs such as “Polyscias fruticosa” has much benefit for human heath. In Asian countries, the leaves of the Polyscias fruticosa are used as a tonic, anti-inflammatory, antitoxin, and an antibacterial ointment. They have also been proven to be an aid in digestion. The Chef also prepare a very delicious fish porridge for guest to warm their stomach. Guests have a chance to try their hands to make a roll with rice papers and all the ingredients. The flavor of this dish is flexible upon the ingredient selection of the makers, it could be more spicy or less sour up to their hands. It’s truly a demonstration of Vietnamese culture and the Halong sea life in general, much more beyond a common cooking class.