Rau Dang has long, slender stems, averaging 10-20 centimeters in length, that bear many small round to oval leaves. The bright green leaves are smooth, thick, fleshy, and flat, averaging 2-3 centimeters in length, and grow in an alternating pattern along the semi-thick, tender light green stems. The plant extends low to the ground, growing in all directions, and in the late spring, small flowers ranging in color from white, purple to blue also appear on the stems. Rau Dang is crisp and succulent with a very bitter, green flavor.
Rau Dang is available year-round in humid, tropical and subtropical climates.
Rau Dang are sprawling, fast-growing, leafy plants that are found in subtropical or tropical regions near streams, marshes, rivers, and canals, sometimes even growing on top of the water. Generally known as Bitter Herb in Asia, there is much debate on the scientific classification of this plant. Some experts believe it can be classified as Glinus oppositifolius, belonging to the Molluginaceae family, while other experts believe it is classified as Bacopa Monnieri, belonging to the Plantaginaceae family. Rau Dang is a wild herb predominately utilized in Asia, especially in Vietnam, and is used both medicinally and in culinary applications.
Rau Dang contains some fiber, antioxidants to help protect the overall health of the body, and some anti-inflammatory properties.
Rau Dang is extremely bitter and is best suited for fast-cooking applications such as blanching. It is most well-known for its use as an ingredient in hot pot and is added at the end of the cooking process. It is also commonly added to soups and stews such as snakehead fish soup and sweet potato soup, mixed into porridge, sautéed or stir-fried with garlic and served with seafood, or blended into dipping sauces such as a bitter chile sauce. Rau Dang pairs well with sesame oil, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauces, seafood such as fish, crab, and shrimp, sesame seeds, noodles, and rice. The herb will keep up to one week when wrapped in a damp paper towel and stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.