Hiu hiu, Johns’ groove-toed frog or Johns’ frog in English, is a rare frog species in Viet Nam which can be found at streams in mountainous areas in the northwestern region.
Dishes made from the frog can hardly be found in all places in the country but villages of the Tay ethnic minority group in Vinh Yen Commune, Bao Yen District, Lao Cai Province.
Johns’ frogs usually give birth in July and August when people finish harvesting their paddy and the rainy season comes.
As the frog grows fast, they usually develop into large groups of adult frogs within a few days. Tay people just need to bring bamboo baskets to catch a lot of frogs from streams or get them from rocks where they usually cling to.
The two most common ways to make dishes from the fresh Johns’ frog of Tay people are to fry the frog with sour bamboo sprout or cook sour soup with forest leaves.
Tay people also dry the frog on the stove for later use. Dried Johns’ frogs have a black grey color and are tougher than fresh ones. When making dishes out of dried Johns’ frogs, people soak them into the water of sour bamboo sprout to make them soft and aromatic. Then, they embalm the frogs with chili and deep fry them.
To make the fried frogs more delicious, people create a sauce from Chinese chive, green chili, and salt. For Tay people, the Johns’ frog is far tastier than squid.
Coming to Vinh Yen Commune, visitors can taste dishes made from Johns’ frogs at bistros of Tay people along the stream banks.