Houttuynia is a small perennial Asian plant, Houttuynia cordata, in the primitive lizard’s-tail family (Saururaceae), a relative of black pepper. Its leaves are used in Vietnamese and Thai salads, stews, and other dishes. There are two main varieties, one with a citrus aroma, and the other with an unusual scent said to resemble a mixture of meat, fish, and coriander.
From the book On Food and Cooking (2nd edition) by Harold McGee. © 2004 Harold McGee. By permission of Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.