Robyn Eckhardt of the Eating Asia blog is a frequent contributor to this blog and my friend in Kuala Lumpur. She's also an accomplished food and travel writer. She just went to Saigon and reported on Vietnamese canh chua ca sour fish soup -- the quintessential Saigon sou -- for the Asian Wall Street Journal.
Robyn intervied Nguyen Dzoan Cam Van, the famed chef and restaurateur in Vietnam, who had lots to say. Oh yes, Robyn and I chatted about the soup too. It's one of my favorites with lots of nuanced tart-sweet-pungent flavors and wonderful flavor. And the lovely photo? Taken by David Hagerman, Robyn's husband. What a pair.
Check it out: Canh Chua Ca in Asian Wall Street Journal (9/25/08)
There are many variations to sour seafood soups in Southeast Asia. What's yours?
The Vietnamese version can have taro stem (bac ha) or okra, lots of rice paddy herb (ngo om) that smells like zesty cumin, and tamarind and/or pineapple. You can botch if you don't use fresh ingredients. When you hit it on the mark, you can eat bowl after bowl while sweating in the Saigon heat. Sour cools, right?