Ngán is a mollusk species which is popular in the Northern Vietnam coastal area. Although it can be seen along the coast of the country, Quang Ninh Province, Halong City is where this seafood gets its fame.
This special sea animal has a similar shape to clam, one of its more popular relative but it is usually a little bigger than clam and also has rougher shells. While in the water, ngán uses its one and only tentacle to crawling around, breathing, and seeking for foods. During the season of ngán, fishermen living in the bay have to wade deep into the mud in attempt to hook up this rare sea animal.
In Vietnamese, the word “ngán’ literally mean “bored” but if you have a chance to have just one bite of it, the deliciousness of ngán would stay in your mouth for the rest of your life.
Amongst all dishes made from ngán, the most favorite and famous one is ngán wine which is made by opening the shells then letting its blood flow directly into the strong liquor. If you worry about the fishy smell of fresh blood, fear not, because it can be boiled before serve. Its blood wine is most preferable by male gourmet thanks to its miracle effect of improving male sexual ability.
Besides, ngán is best enjoyed when grilled or steamed. While it is being steamed, the chief usually tie up its shells in order not to waste the juice and the blood inside, which are the most nutritious parts. Grilled and steamed ngán both have salty taste at the beginning then turning into sweet taste of seafood and this deliciousness stays in your mouth till the next time you taste. Its porridge is an excellent choice for breakfast or for a happy ending for your lunch or dinner in Halong. With just only two to three pieces of ngán, your bowl of porridge would become more alluring than ever.
Visiting Halong, you may have many more chances to taste other attractive variables of dishes like ngán sushi, ngán salad, ngán soup, deep fried ngán with vegetables, etc. You should not miss the chance to feast on this unique seafood when you come to Halong Bay.