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Mar 3, 2007 11:27 AM

Mystery Asian Herb

On an impulse I bought a small tray of an herb I had not seen before. It is very fresh and young, the stems are delicate and edible with several clusters of leaves along each stem. The leaves are about an inch long but only1/4 inch wide and bright green, very small serrations. It has a faintly lemony scent and a faintly funky bitter flavor raw. The checkout lady at the Asia Mart said they were lemon leaves but I don't think so. It is not basil (or any kind I have ever seen).

Any thoughts?

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      1. re: gargantua

        Looks like Viet "ngo om" aka rice paddy herb. I haven't cooked w/ this at all, but the linked site says it's often used in Viet sour fish soup. I've also had it added to a Hanoi-style eel curry dish w/ glass noodles. I enjoy its unique flavor.

        Scroll down for info:

        1. re: Carb Lover

          I think you are right. I looked it up in a Vietnamese cookbook and their description matches yours. It also said it has kind of a cuminy flavor.

      2. I think Carb lover is correct! Many thanks

        1. Excerpted from

          Rice Paddy Herb
          Asian in origin, this herb is a member of the snap-dragon family of plants and is an aquatic plant grown in the flooded rice fields of Asia. Rice Paddy herb is a flowering plant that thrives in tropical climates, it blooms a small pale violet flower that adorns the leaves of the herb stems as it matures. With a lemony, citrus aroma as well as flavor, the Rice Paddy herb is a common spice used in Vietnamese recipes for seafood and fish soups such as Canh Chua or Samlor Manchu Trey, a Cambodian soup. It is also a common ingredient in a variety of curries. The fresh leaves of this herb are the plant parts used for seasoning as they are chopped into small pieces and added to various foods as an uncooked herb seasoning. If Rice Paddy herbs are not available, substitute coriander or basil, either lemon or anise flavored. Rice Paddy herb is also referred to as Finger Grass, Shui fu rong, Tian xiang cao, Seui fuh kyuhng, Tihn heung chou, Shiso-kusa, Soyeob, Soyob, Kayang, Phak Kayang, Rau om, Lang hom nay, as well as a few other names for various native languages.

          1. Yep, that's definitely rice paddy herb. I love the stuff. It's killer in Canh Chua Ca (Vietnamese sour fish head soup): http://wanderingchopsticks.blogspot.c...

            I'm so addicted to rice paddy herb, I think it smells like watermelon rinds.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ephramzz

              I was hoping that since you are so addicted to the rice paddy herb you may have some recipes that I could use withit?!!? I have eaten it in a vietnamese restaurant a year or so ago and bought some today when I stumbled across it in China Town. Thanks