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« Road Trip: Krua Thai Restaurant - West Covina | Main | Grab & Go Subs »

Monday, 29 August 2005



Hi Kirk,

Nice review. The catfish sounded great, but I'm mostly weary of whole catfish because as you've experienced, the flavor of the fish can be quite muddy. The goi vit bap chuoi (banana bud salad with ginger and duck) also sounds good. I'd like to try it sometime. I have a recipe for it, but as I'm not too much of a duck lover, I'd probably make it with chicken or shrimp.


I'm with you Reid, a little duck is ok, but to much makes me "quackers"! ::falls off chair laughing::

clare eats

oh I love chinese roast duck! mmmmmmm

This place looks good :) nice and 'homely' I love cha gio with wrapped in lettuce etc, you do know how easy it is to make nuoc nam right?

Christine D.

Whoa! how weird, I ate fried catfish with banh trang today! But it was at another place, which i think is called Hong An (on Brookhurst/Westminster in Orange County). We had ordered a medium sized catfish, but they upgraded us to a large one, free of charge =). I don't know if my fish tasted muddy or not, but it was pretty good! The rice paper was SO stubborn today. Probably the stickiest paper i've ever had to deal with, and i ended up eating a few quadruple layered rolls. we also ate bo bay mon (7 courses of beef) so I was wayyy beyond full at the end of the meal. My hands still smell like catfish and fish sauce even though i've washed them so many times! My family really likes this place because you can have a variety of things and the food's pretty good. It was even pretty crowded for a monday evening.


Hi Reid - If you're ever in Vegas have the Whole Catfish at Lotus of Siam - Ed & I kept talking about it as being our "Gold Standard". I've not too many problems with whole catfish - this one was too muddy.

Hi Jo - I'm a duck lover - but you "quack" me up!

Hi Clare - Yes I've made Nuoc Mam - I liked this version because of alot more hot chilies and that slices of garlic were in it. There were 2 versions of Nuoc Mam served - one with the Cha Gio and a different one with the crepe. I thought the La Tia To (perilla leaves) added a nice flavor.

Hi Christine - Sounds like you had a great meal! We were served a shrimp paste, garlic, and shallot dipping sauce with our catfish, this didn't even mask the muddiness. The nice thing was that we were given those disposable oshibori, that helped.


nuoc mam is just straight from the bottle with the shredded herbs etc. right?


Hey Kirk. I did have a good time. I think you are a little hard on that poor catfish. Once I learned to use enough of the wonderful shrimp paste sauce with all the garlic, I thought it was pretty good. Not Lotus of Siam good, but what is?


Hi Jo - I'm really talking about Nuoc Mam Cham - Fish sauce dip. Fish sauce, vinegar, water, sugar, red chilies, lime juice, with shredded pickled radish and carrot.

Hi Ed - Maybe I am, but I expected more. I've had better catfish at Celadon and Phuong Trang.


ah ha! OK, I'll have to keep that in mind. My Viet cooking is not that advanced yet. I'll have to get a crash course from Van before we leave.

About the "muddy" catfish. I have presumed that you meant the flesh itself had the flavor of bottom soil from whence it was caught. It now occurs to me that you might have meant something else. Would you be so kind as to elaborate?


Hi Jo - You're correct, it was a very muddy taste.


Fascinating. I don't think I've ever experienced that in cat fish. Don't suppose you know if the fellow was wild or farmed do you?


Don't know - but I thought it was pretty bad - but Ed disagrees, it represented every bad stereotype of bad fresh water fish in my mind!


You know something Kirk, I never ever ate catfish. But if you're not especially busy tomorrow, stop by the house, because I have some tilapia for you....not kidding.


Hi RONW - I still can't eat tilapia, even after all these years - visions of the Ala Wai and the "pond" at the Blaisdell come to mind. yuck....

christine d.

mmm tilapia! I can't believe you don't like it! I usually pan fry it with crushed garlic cloves and then pour nuoc mam all over it, and eat it with rice. it's freakin delicious.



The muddy taste might be from algae if the catfish was farmed. I haven't had the same problem with freshly caught catfish, but sometimes farmed catfish is muddy tasting.


Hi Christine - If you grew up seeing tilapia like I have.....I think you'd feel the same way. I'm sure tilapia is good; but than again alot of things would taste great with garlic and nuoc mam poured over it - I'd probably eat my arm that way! LOL!

Hi Mills - hmmm, you're probably right, never gave it much thought.



I, too, detect muddy notes in catfish and tilapia...but only once in a while (that's probably the difference between wild caught and farmed that people talk about)...Tilapia is my default fish to deep fry (I cook it until it beyond crisp - basically until its cracklins'), because it's so cheap and yup garlic and nouc mam is required, but if I could afford to have white pompret everyday I'd prefer it.

In any case, I've tried that lacy shrimp wrapped spring roll that you tried from my local 99 Ranch freezer case. They sell em frozen! Good eating, especially dunked in Thai sweet chili sauce!


Hi Elmo - I never cook with fresh water fish, guess growing up in Hawaii created a major bias. I've never seen those shrimp rolls a 99 Ranch Market - I seldom buy frozen stuff from there, even though I shop there just about every week - I'll need to look closer.


RONW hits it "right on the button" with his Tilapia post - here:

It expresses my feelings on Tilapia in perfect terms!

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