Vietnam’s Ocean Bounty-Grilled Red Snapper, lemongrass, chili’s


local fisherman in My Khe beach, Da-Nang, Viet-Nam

Every time I return to my birthplace, Vietnam, I’m continually drawn and connected to the ocean. I was born in Da-Nang, which is only a few minutes scooter ride to My-Khe beach, where I grew up as a small child. When we escaped Viet-Nam and made home in America, my mother would always reminisce and tell me stories of how close the ocean was and how we fed off the amazing bounty of Viet-Nam’s wealth of seafood. I now have my own memories of the collapsing waters of my childhood beach, as well as stories and delicious experiences of how the bounty of the ocean has nurtured me every time I return to Viet-nam.

I have a pile of written stories, recipes and photographs to share with all of you as time charges ahead. But I was fortunate to be contacted by Heather of Diary of a Fanatic Foodie, who also happens to be the food editor for a great new travel website called, Go Galavanting. When the food editor asked me to contribute a food article, obviously, I was thrilled to contribute a recipe and article to Go Galavanting . I was ready to share my love of Vietnam’s abundance of seafood and how it nutures my body, soul and spirit.


Go Galavanting is fabulous online women’s travel website started by Kim Mance and Katy Quissell, two gorgeous and exuberant world travelers who’s mission is to connect , inspire and empower women from around the globe. They “tell women’s stories of discovery, self-discovery, and insider tips, as well as practical advice to keep travelers safe and culturally connected while out galavanting.”. Fella’s, you don’t need to feel left out because the wonderful information here is great for guy travelers too. Just ask Todd!

So, hop on over to Go Galavanting to read my full story and peruse this awesome site for global trekking inspiration. Please, leave me a comment over there as well and join me in celebrating the world!

Read “Vietnam’s Ocean Bounty”  story and view the photo gallery HERE.

Thank you & hugs to you all !- Diane



Grilled Red Snapper with lemongrass & chili's Recipe

Yield: 2 Servings

Total Time: 30 Minutes

My mother grew up eating Grandma's grilled red snapper as a child and has now passed this family recipe on to me. Wrapped in banana leaves (when we can get it in America), the infusion of the lemongrass's fresh, bright and grassy flavors on the delicate meat of the snapper, over the heat of slowly, fire charring coals is phenomenal.


  • about 1 pound whole red snapper, cleaned and gutted OR fillet's

For Marinade:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, cut in 1/4" stalks
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons peanut  oil
  • 2 thai chilies, sliced thinly


  1. Wash fish and pat dry with paper towels. For the whole fish, make 2-3  1/4" cuts diagonally across the fish body .
  2. Smash the stalks of the lemongrass. Reserve about a 1" stalk and chop finely or crush in mortar & pestle.
  3. In bowl, combine garlic, fish sauce, sugar, oil, chili's, crushed lemongrass in both forms. Let diced chili infuse in marinade for about 5 minutes, then remove chilies and set aside for later use.
  4. Pour marinade over fish. For the whole fish, place the smashed lemongrass stalks in the body cavity of the fish. This will give extra lemongrass flavor.
  5. Let marinade for about 20 minutes.
  6. Place fish on hot grill. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side for fillets, 10 minutes on each side for the whole fish, or until cooked to your liking. Cook time for whole snapper will also depend on the size of your fish.
  7. Remove fish from grill and dress with the diced chili's.
Recipe Source:

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. james

    wow!! i can’t wait to try this recipe.

    I always usually eat grilled fish with a side of lemon-soy sauce-siracha hot sauce dipping sauce. I would say this would go wonderfully with that

  2. Nate

    We really should keep more banana leaves around to do grilled fish. Wrapping them in foil alone does not help.

    Recipe saved and will be attempted at earliest possible time!

  3. Peter

    Red snapper is one of my favourite fish and these smaller Viet ones have to be tastier (small is always tastier). Love lemongrass as the citrus component. Fish & seafood need citrus.

  4. Brooke

    I agree, it’s great when you get reminiscent and share the stories of your childhood. I want to know more about Vietnam via you, Diane! And you, Todd! What a beautiful history you have and incredible heritage with food. Congratulations on your story with Galavanting!

  5. Jescel

    Great photos. I must say that I’m surprised to recognize all the fish you have in the 1st pic – we have it all in the Philippines too… And yeah, we cook a lot with banana leaves including rice and meat.. it gives a nice aroma to the dish…and with lemongrass?.. that’s the bomb!

  6. Tiina

    Diane, the photos are simply gorgeous!


  7. Hélène

    With these gorgeous pictures I feel I’m visiting the place. Great meal.

  8. Manggy

    Visiting it now Diane! Next to a fantastic, flashy deep-fry, grilling is my favorite way of cooking fish 🙂 Looks deelish!

  9. Melissa

    I love when you get reminiscent. And I love it that much more because it also involves food – it’s amazing how food is such a memory trigger and how it relates to our experiences and our outlooks.

    I’m not surprised you gain weight there, the food is just too wonderful. Thanks for your link/story and this post. Just lovely. 🙂

  10. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I’ve really been enjoying these recent posts about Vietnam. Brings back memories of my one visit there, especially to Da Nang and Hoi An, and the amazing fish dishes we had at some eateries on the beaches.

  11. mallory elise

    oh wow these are wonderful wonderful wonderful photos!! i absolutely adore shots of whole cooked fish. bravo~

  12. matt wright

    Wow – amazing stuff guys. LOVE the photos, so rich, vibrant and fresh. Snapper is one of my favorites on the grill, and it looks like this recipe won’t disappoint. Makes me wish it was summer here, or at least not freezing cold so I can go fire up the grill.

    The shot of the fish in buckets, top down, is my favorite food shot of the year so far, I just love that one. REALLY nice work guys.

  13. Chez Us

    I have been eyeing the whole snappers at the market – now I am even more inspired. I can almost taste this slurpy good dish! Thanks for sharing your treasure grandmother’s recipe!

  14. Lang

    Great post! The snapper looks delectable. We barbecued a greenling this summer in a similar fashion–those diagonal cuts are essential.

  15. Chuck

    I love Red Snapper, but have never cooked with lemongrass before. So, I’m really looking forward to making this. It’s always great to try something new.

  16. Danielle

    Simple, beautiful and delicious! I love lemongrass and chilies with certain fish dishes and this looks just wonderful. Thanks for sharing your grandmother’s recipe!

  17. Helen

    What gorgeous looking seafood! It seems like such a magical place. Congratulations on the article 🙂

  18. diana

    Hi Diane-
    I saw your photo for the green oranges. I use them in Hanoi but I have wondered about the zest- have you used the zest just like you would for an orange orange?

  19. Julia

    Congratulations on the great coverage! I went on a fishing tour in Hoi An, which was so much fun! We had a chance to practice casting nets and reeling in the really big nets too.

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