Perennial. Ht 45 - 60cm. The oval shaped leaves are a bright mid-green and have a thin delicate appearance. The leaf has visible veins and a textured appearance, but less so than other mints. In summer, it has the small lilac flowers common to many mints. The square stem has a red tone and the leaves are held in an alternate position, which is a feature common to plants in the mint family.
It is generally accepted that Hung Cay Mint is a hybrid and identified as Mentha X gracilis. Since this is an herb used in Vietnamese cuisine, others simply call it Vietnamese Mint. However, Vietnamese Mint is different type of plant that is not a member of the mint family.
Hung Cay Mint has a zesty flavour kick, which has resulted in it being given the name of ‘spicy mint’ in Vietnam. Most Vietnamese dishes use some form of mint and this herb is considered as essential part of the cuisine. Hung Cay Mint is a sweet mint, pungent and contains menthol. It may help to think of this mint as a lighter version of peppermint.
Best in fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil. Keep soil moist, watering freely in dry weather. Harvest foliage as needed. May become invasive if left unchecked.
A great culinary herb for gardens and containers. Especially delicious used with beef or chicken. Use the fresh leaves to add an interesting dimension to lettuce, tomato or fruit salads.