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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Snapshot {MeKong Market}

Hind sight is 20/20.  I should have chosen #5.  I didn't.  I held 1 finger up and chose #1.
It involved one of our favorite things to do, a trip to the Viet market.
We walked in, and Papa said, you can take all the pics you want, but you're never going to capture that smell.  He's right.
Gotta love any market that offers 10% off everyday.  I'll clarify... this is NOT a sale.  It's been 10% off your whole purchase since it opened!
Shelf upon shelf of fish sauce.  Chili sauces.  2 whole isles of rice noodles!  Produce I can't find anywhere else in a city of 2.4 million.  Hundreds of mysterious canned juice drinks with gelatinous stuff!  It's like a scavenger hunt for adults.
Maybe things started to go badly here... like where Patch is trying to man-handle a shoe-less Tess.  (Yes, for you Ohio fans, Tess IS wearing her Buckeye cheerleader uniform!  GO BUCKS!  If your from Michigan, never-you-mind!  And if you're from OH, and you just happen to know what, or more appropriately who Max and Erma are, drop me a note, and I'll tell you my one and only very distant claim to fame.)
You see, we LOVE the Viet market!  Don't get me wrong, we stick out like sore thumbs there, but we love it never the less.  It's only about 20 minutes from our home.  It's clean and filled with lots of jars and cans that I can't even come close to pronouncing.  The produce is cheap, the meat is cheap, for crying out loud, it's all cheap!  Then there's that 10% off!  And I always dream that I'll gather up the courage to ask one of those older Viet women to let me come to her home and give me a cooking lesson!
The meat section is full of everything imaginable.  Live crabs and lobsters.  Beef, lamb, crustaceans, pork, chicken, duck, and all sorts of "parts" from all the aforementioned proteins.  At least half of the meat counter is fish.  Whole fish, live fish, fish steaks, and fillets.
I always have aspirations that I'll increase the frequency I serve fish to my family.  And this day I came prepared with a grocery list that called for 2 lbs of fish.  And I had a lot of choices how I'd like my fish prepared.  #1-8.  They make it so easy!  Look at the chart, point to the fish you want, and tell them the number.  Easy peasy.  Point to a fish and hold up as many fingers to indicate how you'd like it.  Whole.  Filleted.  Butterflied.  Filleted and deep fried.  You see... it is a fabulous place!
Go for #5!  #5 please!  Please Caucasian Crazy mama!  Don't do it!  Your family is hungry!

I was feeling so confident, falsely so, about this fish thing.   I held up 1 finger.  Grand visions of red snapper Veracruz style, but with lemon grass Vietnamese style were dancing in my head.  Yes, #1, please!

Browse through the meat section some more.  If you're squeamish about exotic meats, you can stop here.  Really.  I won't spare you after this warning!
Wonder what I could make with these?  They're "special!"
Or maybe some pork chops!  Those pork chops strangely look a LOT like duck feet!  Weird!
I swear this place is awesome!  Never you mind this!
Let's just say that at some point during the frying, Papa accidentally ripped the fish lips off the body.  It was eerie the way those lips just sat at the bottom of the pan, bubbling, detached, while the remainder of the body lay on a plate a 18 " to the right.

The oil was too hot.
You'll notice an absence of photo from here on out.  I can't even bring myself to show you the images.

Everyone at the dinner table, including 2 teenage guests, was so gracious that night.  All tried it.  And it was tasty.  But there was just something kinda unappetizing looking about it.  Then there was the lazy Susan, and it was kinda like a bad game of spin the bottle.  Such an eerie feeling as the lazy Susan spun, leaving someone starting at a fired fish head... a lipless fried fish head.  Everyone left the dinner table a bit hungry.

They're so good to let me try.
So far, I've worked this recipe 3 times.  Still don't have it quite right.  But soon, I assure you.  An easy Viet recipe for fish... without a head... or lips.

#5 next time.  Yes, definitely #5.






Ni Hao Y'all

10 comments:

  1. i knew something was up when i saw an entire fish in the kitchen. it was good though. there is always dinner and a show at that house, so even if the food isn't up to par, at least it is entertaining.

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  2. Oh, how I can relate with the smells. It is something you can not capture (or explain!). It's been a while since we visited our local Asian Market...think we need to make a trip soon!

    Yay for adventurous eaters :)

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  3. Oh, how I can relate with the smells. It is something you can not capture (or explain!). It's been a while since we visited our local Asian Market...think we need to make a trip soon!

    Yay for adventurous eaters :)

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  4. We have a Chinese market near our house and I go just for the smell!

    I walk in and I am immediately back in China just by the smell alone.

    We always find something new to try.

    Blessings,
    Jennifer

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  5. oh, it's just like home! :) you're quite brave to cook the whole fish. i agree about the slight creepiness of having your dinner look you in the eye.

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  6. oh, it's just like home! :) you're quite brave to cook the whole fish. i agree about the slight creepiness of having your dinner look you in the eye.

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  7. I can only imagine the experience of all that!! lol my husband would LOVE it though!!!

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  8. We have a store JUST like that, and we love going there! Good for you triing these new reciepes! Next time try the *pork chops with Skin* LOL!

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  9. Roberta- You know, the family and I are pretty adventurous eaters! But the "pork chops with skin" is really just gonna have to wait! Not quite THAT adventurous!
    Nancy

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  10. LOL! That's all I can say... especially as a vegetarian...lol. We like fish though ; )

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