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Hotline: 0983 532 532 - 0567 338 333
136 D3 street, Phuoc Long B, Thu Duc, HCM City

What is a “Thac Lac” Fish? How much is 1kg? Prepare properly and suggest dishes

I/ What is “Thac Lac” Fish?

1. Identification of Thac Lac Fish

Thac Lac fish has a long and flat body with a very small tail. Small scales cover the entire surface of its body. The mouth of the Thac Lac fish is relatively large with a short snout, and it has a groove that runs from the front of the mouth to near the eye socket.

In terms of color, Thac Lac fish typically has a gray back and a silver-white belly. A distinctive feature is the yellow border around the gill cover bones. When harvested, Thac Lac fish can reach a length of up to 400 mm and a weight of up to 500 grams, with an average of around 200 grams.

Thac Lac fish is a specialty fish known for its delicious and boneless meat, making it a popular choice for many dishes, especially Thac Lac fish cake, which many people love.

2. Nutritional Value of Thac Lac Fish

Thac Lac fish cake is a common dish in Vietnamese cuisine and it has important nutritional values for health.

1. Vitamin A for Eyes: Thac Lac fish cake contains vitamin A, which helps maintain eye health, protect mucous membranes and the retina, and improve visual acuity. It also has the ability to protect the eyes from infections.

2. Protein for Cell Formation: Protein in Thac Lac fish cake is an important source of essential protein, which helps maintain and form cells in the body. Protein also plays a role in transporting nutrients and supporting the development and repair of muscles, skin, hair, and nails.

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Heart Health: Thac Lac fish cake contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which can support heart health. It helps reduce blood clotting and enhances blood circulation, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

4. Boosting Immune System: Consuming Thac Lac fish cake can help boost the body’s immune system. This is especially important for pregnant women and fetuses, protecting them from infections and environmental agents that can cause diseases.

II/ Popular Types of Thac Lac Fish

Nang Hai Fish (Cuờm Thac Lac)

Nang Hai Fish, also known as Cuờm Thac Lac, is a type of fish belonging to the Thac Lac family, which shares a relatively similar appearance with Thac Lac fish. Despite their similar appearance, there are some distinguishing features, such as black spots resembling sesame seeds on the tail. Here are some characteristic points about Nang Hai fish:

– Similar Appearance: Nang Hai fish has a similar body shape to Thac Lac fish, with a long and flat body. The main difference is the black spots on the tail.

– Larger Size: Nang Hai fish usually has a larger size compared to Thac Lac fish, with each fish weighing typically between 2 to 3 kilograms. This makes it a good choice for those who prefer larger fish.

– Firmer and Drier Meat: Despite its larger size, Nang Hai fish meat is usually firmer and drier compared to the tender and aromatic meat of Thac Lac fish.

III/ Price of Thac Lac Fish per Kilogram

• The price of fresh whole Thac Lac fish is approximately 95,000 VND per kilogram.
• For every 2.5 kilograms of Thac Lac fish, you can yield 1 kilogram of Thac Lac fish cake. Therefore, the price of Thac Lac fish cake can range from below 300,000 VND per kilogram.
• Additionally, Thac Lac fish fillet and pure Thac Lac fish cake prices in the current market are around 290,000 VND per kilogram for fillet and 320,000 VND per kilogram for pure Thac Lac fish cake.

IV/ Proper Preparation of Thac Lac Fish

Here are the steps to properly prepare Thac Lac fish

1. Cutting the Fish: Start by using a sharp knife or specialized fish knife to make a horizontal cut near the head of the Thac Lac fish, as illustrated in the image.

2. Separating the Fillets: From the point where you made the cut near the fish’s head, use a knife to fillet along the middle of the fish’s bone and flesh. Try to extract as much meat as possible from the bones. Next, cut from the fish’s head down to its tail along the dorsal fin to separate the fish fillets from the bones.

3. Cleaning the Fins: After you have separated the fish fillets, use a knife to remove the white part on the fish fins.

4. Removing the Backbone and Fin Bones: Finally, cut away the backbone and fin bones at the top of the Thac Lac fish. Use a specialized knife or spoon to scrape off any remaining flesh sticking to the backbone.

V/ Delicious Dishes Made from Thac Lac Fish

1. Thac Lac Fish Hot Pot

Here are the steps to make Thac Lac fish hot pot with bitter melon:


– 1 Thac Lac fish (or Thac Lac fish cake)
– 2-3 bitter melons
– Pork bones
– Oyster mushrooms and enoki mushrooms
– Purple onions
– Green onions and chili peppers
– Water spinach, squash blossoms, water spinach
– Seasonings: broth mix, salt, sugar, MSG, pepper, fish sauce, cooking oil


Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

– Clean the bitter melon, cut it in half, remove the seeds, and slice it diagonally into bite-sized pieces. Place the bitter melon in the refrigerator to make it crispier and reduce bitterness.
– Wash the pork bones, soak them in saltwater for 5 minutes to reduce the meat’s odor, and then rinse them again with water.
– Clean the oyster mushrooms and enoki mushrooms, remove the stems. Cut the oyster mushrooms into bite-sized pieces.
– Peel the purple onions, then finely chop them. Rinse the green onions and chili peppers, then finely chop them.
– Wash the water spinach, squash blossoms, and water spinach under running water and cut them into manageable pieces.

Step 2: Prepare the Thac Lac Fish Cake

Place the Thac Lac fish cake, along with purple onions, green onions, broth mix, salt, MSG, pepper, fish sauce, sugar, and cooking oil in a bowl. Then, mix all the ingredients together. Shape the Thac Lac fish cake into desired pieces.

Step 3: Prepare the Broth

– Place a pot of water on the stove, add pork bones, cover with a lid, and simmer the bones for 30-45 minutes to extract the sweetness from the bones.
– After 45 minutes, add the Thac Lac fish cake to the pot and cook until the fish cake floats to the surface. Then, add the oyster mushrooms and season to taste. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Step 4: Serving

When serving, bring the hot pot to a boil, then add bitter melon, enoki mushrooms, and various vegetables. Cook until the bitter melon, mushrooms, and vegetables are tender.

2. Fried Thac Lac Fish Cake

Step 1: Prepare the Thac Lac Fish Cake

– Rinse the Thac Lac fish cake thoroughly after purchasing.
– Use a knife to separate the flesh from the bone, ensuring that no bones are left in the meat. Then, use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the tail of the fish for easier handling.

Step 2: Shape the Thac Lac Fish Cake

– Spread a thin layer of cooking oil in a bowl to make it easier to shape the fish cake.
– Place the fish you’ve prepared in the bowl, add 1 tablespoon of seasoning powder, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of pepper, chopped green onions, and purple onions. Mix all the ingredients well.
– Use a spoon to evenly shape the fish meat in the bowl. Shape it according to your preference.

Step 3: Fry the Thac Lac Fish Cake

– If you don’t plan to use it immediately, you can store the Thac Lac fish cake in the refrigerator.
– To fry, form the fish cake into patties and flatten them on a pan over medium heat. The Thac Lac fish cake won’t stick to the pan when frying.

Step 4: Serving

After frying the Thac Lac fish cake, place it on a plate and garnish it as desired before enjoying.

3. Bitter Melon and Thac Lac Fish Soup


– 2 bitter melons
– 200g Thac Lac fish cake
– Green onions
– 2 purple onions
– Seasonings: salt, sugar, MSG, fish sauce, pepper


Step 1: Prepare the Bitter Melon

Wash the bitter melon and cut it into bite-sized pieces. You can use a spoon to scoop out the inner part of the bitter melon or thinly slice it.

Step 2: Marinate the Thac Lac Fish Cake

Peel one purple onion and place it in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of MSG, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of pepper, and 1 teaspoon of fish sauce. Mix well and use a spoon to marinate for about 10 minutes until the fish becomes firm. You can also add chopped green onions if desired.

Step 3: Cook the Soup

– Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a pot.
– Once the oil is hot, add the remaining chopped purple onion and sauté until it becomes fragrant. When the onion starts to turn golden, add about 1 liter of water to the pot.
– When the water boils, form the marinated fish cake into bite-sized pieces and add them to the pot. Cook until the fish cake floats on the surface. Then, add the bitter melon and cook for about 5 more minutes or until the bitter melon is tender.

Step 4: Serving

Serve the soup in a bowl and garnish with green onions, cilantro, chili peppers, and a dash of pepper on top. Enjoy your meal with a side of chili fish sauce.

VI/ How to Store Thac Lac Fish for Longer Freshness

Properly storing fresh fish is essential to ensure its freshness and safety. Here are some guidelines:

• Clean Thoroughly: Before storage, clean the fish by removing scales, gutting it, and rinsing it thoroughly with cold water to remove any plastic residue or dirt. Pat the fish dry with a clean cloth before packaging.

• Airtight Packaging: To prevent direct contact with air, place the fish in a tightly sealed bag or a suitable container. Remove all air from the packaging to prevent oxidation that can spoil the fish.

• Store at Low Temperatures: Fresh fish should be stored at low temperatures, typically in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator, to inhibit bacterial growth and extend the fish’s shelf life.

• Use Saltwater Soak: Marinating the fish in saltwater can create a harsh environment for bacteria. Be sure to rinse the fish thoroughly before marinating to remove any plastic residue.

• Vacuum Sealing: If you have a vacuum sealer, you can use it to completely remove air from the fish’s packaging. This helps extend the storage life.

• Regular Inspection: Check the fish regularly to ensure it remains fresh and does not have a bacterial or off odor. If you notice any signs of spoilage, discard the fish.

VII/ Conclusion

In this guide, KINGFISH has shared information about Thac Lac fish, its price, and how to cook delicious dishes from Thac Lac fish. It is hoped that these tips will help you gain knowledge and confidence when shopping and cooking. Wishing you success in preparing delicious and nutritious meals for your family!

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