One of the greatest things about street food is that you can smell and see your meal before you eat it.
Just like the mini pancakes in the market, ca kho to (cá kho tộ) is one of the many Vietnamese dishes you’ll smell way before you see it – a beautiful whiff will hit your nostrils from somewhere down an alley or side street…And that aroma will make you put aside whatever plans you have (or had), forget about all responsibility, and sit down immediately for a meal.
The smell is sweet and salty, almost like roasting caramel, but with a noticeable scent of onions and garlic. Your nose won’t lie.
Sitting on the grill, probably at the front of the restaurant, you’ll see a line-up of individual clay pots, all slow bubbling away, each filled with a slice of catfish (or another fish) swimming in a golden sauce, and topped with green onions.
Not only is the smell amazing, but the formation of fish stashed in clay-pots, and the presentation is equally tempting.