Serve this fish recipe with jasmine rice and as part of a shared meal with family and friends.


  • 1 whole snapper (600 g/1 lb 5 oz),

  • Cleaned potato starch, for dusting

  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) vegetable oil, for deep-frying, plus

  • 2 tablespoons extra

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 1 small onion, cut into wedges

  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 6 Asian celery stems, cut into

  • 5 cm (2 inch) lengths

  • 3 tablespoons soft brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  • 1 tablespoon chilli sauce

  • 185 ml (6 fl oz/3/4 cup) ‘333’ Vietnamese beer (or any lager)

  • Coriander (cilantro) sprigs, to garnish

  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

  • 2 long red chillies, thinly sliced on the diagonal (optional)


  • 1.

    Using a sharp knife, make two diagonal incisions into both sides of the fish.

  • 2.

    Dust the fish with the potato starch, shaking off any excess starch.

  • 3.

    Pour the oil into a large wok and heat to 200°C (400°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 5 seconds. Carefully place the fish in the oil and deep-fry on each side for 3 minutes. Remove and place the fish on paper towel to drain.

  • 4.

    In a frying pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil, then add the garlic and onion and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, Asian celery and brown sugar and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until caramelised. Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, chilli sauce and beer, and simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer the fish to a serving plate, pour over the vegetables and sauce and garnish with coriander sprigs, sesame seeds and chilli, if using.

  • 5.

    Serve with jasmine rice.


When dining in Vietnamese Restaurants, your table is given a large tub filled with ice and beer. When you want another beer, you just help yourself, and then throw your empties into another tub beside it. This is quite dangerous, as you find you drink a lot more than you usually would. At the end of the dinner, the waiter tallies up how many empty bottle you have and adds it to your bill - pure genius. There are two Vietnamese beers available in Australia, ‘333’ and' HUDA' beer.

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