Chả cá Đà Nẵng (Danang fish cake)

This fish cake was made the day after I bought a good blender (still wait to afford a good food processor) and it must be one of my hometown typical dishes: Bún chả cá. ‘Bun’ in Vietnam is the small rice vermicelli noodle and ‘cha ca’ is fish cake. With ‘pho’, there are only two types, beef or chicken. With ‘bun’, I myself can cook about 7-10 different types. Most of them are in soup base.

Since Vietnam is a country with a long coastal line, a lot of cities, provinces are bordered by the sea, seafood is very popular and there are many regions that have fish noodle or fish cake (noodle). The specialty of Danang, my hometown is fish cake noodle called: Bun cha ca Danang. The fish filet must be blended well, round up (or flattening), served in a sweet, a bit sour soup base thanks to the sweetness from all kind of vegetables: pumpkin, pineapple, tomato, cabbage,… If you travel in Vietnam you will probably read: Bun (cha) ca Nha Trang, bun ca Phan Thiet,… I’ve tried them, they are good but not special since the soup base is not sweetened by a lot of vegetables. The fish is served instead of fish cake and this is more or less similar to a fish sour soup. 

In this post, I give instruction how to make the fish cake only. The fish cake itself, if eaten can go with rice (dipping it in fish sauce), with noodle or eaten on it own, as a snack, a bit like a Dutch ‘bitterballen’. My Spanish friends tried this and said that I could open a KFC chain with this fish cake.

(Tiếng Việt phía dưới)

He’s the one who took his girlfriend and still his gf to a KFC on their first date, so I felt flattered. But I’m not sure I can make profit since this fish cake is with high quality fish and fish in the Netherlands is not cheap at all. 

Ingredients (make more than 20 fish balls)

– 1kg catfish filet (in Dutch: pangasiusfilet)

– 200g bacon/ pork belly (in Dutch: speklapjes, looks like this)

– 1 egg 

– 1/2 tsp. corn starch

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– 1 tbsp. fish sauce

– 1/8-1/4 tsp. sugar

– Pepper (whole pepper or crushed)

– 60 ml sunflower/ canola oil


– Cut the fish filet into smaller chunks (4cm each side) so the blender will work easily. Divide into batches for the blender or food processor if necessary. Blend till the fish filet becomes smooth.

– Do the same with the bacon (you might need to cut the bacon into smaller side, 2cm each). 

– Mix together blended fish filet, blended bacon, egg and the corn starch well. Season with   fish sauce, salt and sugar. Again mix them well. 

– The trick here with the pepper is that you don’t put finely grounded pepper in the paste. Use whole pepper or crush pepper into 2 halves or 4 quarters (you still see pepper like in the photo). 

– Use a mortar or an electric mixer to beat the fish paste for about 15 minutes. It would be great if you have a food processor, kneading the paste with low speed (this is to make the fish paste has its elasticity but more crunchy).

– Shape the fish paste into small balls (doesn’t need to be round, thin on the side is easier to fry on the pan). Heat the oil and fry each side. Turn to the other side when one side is done. 

– Transfer to a kitchen paper to let it cool down a bit. 

The fish cake can be eaten warm, cold. It can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later use. If you eat it as a snack and like Sriracha chili sauce, dipping the fish cakes/ fish balls with a bit of chili sauce would be nice (else, other sweet chili sauce would also work).

Nguyên liệu (làm được hơn 20 viên chả chiên): 

– 1kg cá basa phi lê 

– 200g thịt ba chỉ

– 1 quả trứng

– 1 thìa cà phê bột bắp

– 1 thìa canh bột nêm Knorr

– 1 thìa cà phê bột canh

– Tiêu (loại nguyên hạt cán ra cho hạt vỡ làm 3, 4)

– Dầu ăn (để rán)

Cách làm:

– Cắt miếng cá ra khoảng 3-4 cm mỗi chiều. Mục đích là để cho lúc cho vào máy xay thì cá xay đều. Mình dùng máy xay sinh tố nên phải chia ra làm nhiều lần thì mới xay được hết.

– Cắt thịt ra làm từng miếng nhỏ rồi cũng cho vào máy xay ra như vậy. 

– Trộn thịt và cá đã xay với nhau. Cho một quả trứng, bột bắp, bột nêm, bột canh vào trôn cùng. Sau cùng cho hạt tiêu đã cán vào (hạt tiêu cán ra đừng cán nhỏ để lúc ăn có miếng tiêu to thơm ngon hơn). 

– Dùng chày để giã/ miết chả cho chả dai, khoảng 10 phút (hoặc cũng có thể dùng máy đánh trứng đánh cho quyện lại). 

– Viên chả thành từng viên nhỏ rồi rán cho 2 mặt chín vàng. 

Ở Đà Nẵng ngoài chả viên thì còn có chả lát, nghĩa là chả theo kiểu lát mỏng khoảng 2-3mm rồi rán. Để làm cái này thì trải chả cá lên đĩa đã lót plastic wrap rồi dàn chả ra đĩa cho đều. Cho cả miếng chả to vào chảo rán rồi sau đấy cắt ra thành lát.

Để nấu nước bún thì các bạn đọc post này nhé!


2 thoughts on “Chả cá Đà Nẵng (Danang fish cake)

  1. How lovely to find your blog! I absolutely love fish cakes and have been wondering how to make them. My mum has given me her recipe but I never knew how to translate the fish into German. But I have seen “Pangasius” sold here in Zurich (which comes from Vietnam) so now I know what to use :-) Thank you for sharing your recipe and for your Dutch translation!

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