Dam Vac Tiny fish


               Dam Vac is in the Red River system. Its water is circulated by stream system of Vinh Phuc Province. In the lake complex with high value of tourism, Dam Vac takes an important role. Dam Vac is in the middle of Vinh Yen City having 23 main branches, which created many small lakes and ponds with its circumference of 14 km2. Its average width is 1km, water surface is about 500ha, the deepest place is 4.5m, average is 3.8m. This lake was surrounded by natural forest in the old time. At that time many birds, stork, night heron etc… to look for their food. The most well-known thing in Dam Vac is tiny fish (tep dau), which is a normal and popular to people’s taste. The Dam Vac tiny fish is transmitted by generation to generation with a folk sentence:  


“feast has nine pigs and ten buffaloes
But it is incomparable with Dam Vac tiny fish”

Dam Vac tiny fish is as small as a bamboo leaf with 5-7cm long and abot 1 cm wide. Tiny fish is no need to raise sophisticatedly. When this type of fish grows up, its belly is only egg. From August to end of October when the mist as a smoke rising from every house covering on the lake surface, this tiny fish gather around the lake to reproduce. This is a good time fro people to catch them because it is the best for eating them.  

In the old days, many people lived on this career. One person had a boat made of wood or of bamboo lath with its diameter of about 80 - 90cm, and 35 - 40cm deep. On the surface of the boat, it has a bamboo stretcher with 40 - 45cm long and some bait like frog, ill, snail etc…of stinking smell to dissolve into water. In addition people know where there is much tiny fish to catch up. The catcher seats on the boat, then deep the bait into deep water of 10 cm while a hand stirring the bait to invite the tiny fish. The tiny fish smells and they gather to eat the bait. The catcher at that time, silently lifts the basket to pour the tiny fish into his boat. This action is repeated again and again until the night falls. 

The method of processing of tiny fish is also very simple: cooking with brine and cooking soup. Before cooking, people gut out the abdomen then use thin salt water and warm water to wash the fish. This tiny fish is often cooked with sour vegetables or fermented thing. It is also cooked with different fruits or vegetables depending on people’s taste such as with egg plat, canarium but in this way or other, it must used together with soy sauce and the pot to cook must be laid by ginger leaf.

At present time, Dam Vac tiny fish is still a dish of so many families and it is a good food to the guests in restaurants. Dam Vac tiny fish became a specila dish bearing trade mark in Vinh Yen touritst spots and this is also a “never forgettable dish”

Minh Tuyen


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