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Feb 3, 2011 01:10 PM

Thoughts on fish mint (houttuynia)?

I just read about this fish mint and I'm thinking of ordering it for my herb garden. I'm thinking it could be useful to give a fishy flavour to vegetarian dishes. I've never tasted it though and I cannot find a lot of information about it online. How do you use it? Do you like it?

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  1. You might try posting on the gardening board. I've never heard of this plant, but maybe someone over there has.

    1. I've heard of it but have not grown it. Would love to, though - hadn't even thought of that! I will certainly look for the seed or transplants in May. Let us know what happens. I imagine it would be wonderful in Thai and other ethnic dishes.

      2 Replies
      1. re: chefathome

        If you are looking for a place to order it, it is available here:
        They have a standard variety and a chameleon variety. Their description seems to indicate the chameleon variety is edible, but many sites I've found say the chameleon variety is only ornamental.

        1. re: mym

          Oh, of course! Thick of me not to think of it. I will certainly look into it.

      2. I have used this. It was called by another name when I bought it that I cannot at the moment recall. I used it in a Cambodian pork dish called prahok kthis.

        It did lend a distinct, fish-sauce flavor to the dish that I must admit, I did not care for. Its odor is quite strong and distinctive. Akin to fish-sauce but more vegetal. Kind of tough to describe. I am sure that I could have used it better or if nothing else, balanced out the flavor of it with some additional ingredients (now that I think about it, a hit of lime would have probably worked wonders).

        If you haven't done so already, ask around a Southeast Asian (Vietnamese) community. You may find answers there. I don't suggest tossing this one around by the handful, make sure you get some guidance as to its use. This stuff ain't parsley.

        1. Stay away from Houttuynia!!!!!! It is an extremely invasive plant. I planted the "Chameleon" variety in my garden, and have spent the last few years pulling it out from all the area's where I don't want it. I'm not much for herbicides, and I avoid them, but glyphosate, when I have used it, is barely effective against it. I have heard that it is edible, and can be used as a substitute for cilantro, but I find that the odor when it is cut, like when I mow my lawn, to be absolutely horrendous. Very unpleasant. I don't think there would be a difference in edibility between "Chameleon" and the normal variety, since some of my "Chameleon" growths have reverted to the normal pattern. If you really want to grow it, keep it confined to a pot. Do not plant it in your garden!

          2 Replies
          1. re: EricMM

            Well, that is certainly helpful to know. It sounds like it is hardly worthwhile.

            1. re: EricMM

              Old thread, but worth echoing - I spent my whole childhood weeding this stuff out of the yard. It stinks. It grows. You pull it. It keeps coming. It makes running bamboo look like child's play.

            2. I'm Vietnamese and I don't like it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jaykayen

                This is the best topic thread EVER! Who wouldn't love people talking about something that smells "absolutely horrendous" and "This stuff ain't parsley" and "Do not plant it in your garden!"

                It certainly warned me off!

                1. re: jaykayen

                  I agree, I'm Vietnamese too. As far as taste, I do think it's a very strong love it or hate it. Did you try eating some yet?