Chao Cau Gai Nha Trang (Sea-urchin porridge)

Sea-urchins, aka urchins (in Vietnamese: cau gai or nhum bien), have a rough shape and resemble a cluster of thorns. They reside in groups in seawater with a lot of seaweed algae or coral, such as Ly Son, Phu Quoc, Phan Rang, Phan Thiet, Con Dao, and Nha Trang.

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The people of Nha Trang joyfully proclaim that sea urchin porridge is a perfect gift from the sea. Enjoy sea urchin porridge, which you can't mix with any other seafood since it has the sweetness of scallops, shrimp, and crab meat, but a softly scented fishy sea taste in a delightful splendor of spice. Beachgoers claim that sea-urchin porridge aids digestion and helps people recover their health quickly; they also believe that sea-urchin food has a masculine sexual effect and boosts energy levels.

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The best urchins are caught on days when there is no moon, since when the moon shines, the little spiky guys venture out less in search of food, causing them to become "thinner" and hence less meaty. Nha Trang urchins are about the size of a fist, with spikes up to 10 cm long. The month of October is also when urchins deposit their eggs.

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