Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2005

May 2024

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  


What's Cooking?

« Pupuseria y Taqueria Cabañas 1: Yuma | Main | Hanoi: Finally, Bun Rieu, and more of Hoan Kiem Lake »

Friday, 25 April 2008



My favorite dish! So fresh and lite that you can eat it nonstop, well I can at least ;-)


I have been wiating for this one. I LOVE VN turmeric dill fish! I just don't know if i'm doing it right because I never had it in VN. Sorry for being so inquisitive: but if you shoud have the chance to reply: the yellow/orange chilies- would you say this is like a serrano, or jalapeno that has allowed to ripen to an orange color, or do you think its anything like a peruvian aji amarillo? (suggested substitute) I usually get these little thai bird chilies in the VN market that are either GREEN or RED. Alot of heat, but not that fruity flavor one associates with like an aji amarillo or habonero. Could you expound on this if possible?


Oh, and ah..the mam tom is this like the same thing I have in my fridge MAM NEM (except made with shrimp)? The fish: it is supposed to be "grilled" first no? although that can be an ambiguous term (like the buffalo from HWY 4)would you say the fish was grilled or cooked in oil (like- pan fried). I mean- its not cooked from the start in that little braiser- its just tossed with the herbs to finish? FINALLY: this is supposed to be made with snakehead fish I have never had. Would you say catfish would be a good substitute (what I use) or is there something you know of that comes closer? Once again. sorry for the many questions,. I have just waited a long time for this moment.


too bad the flavor didn't match up to what you were expecting, still it looked like a great meal.


Interesting combination of herbs and flavours. Hehe maybe it all worked to remove the "muddy" flavour. Did the restaurant only serve Cha Ca? Or did it have a few other specialty dishes as well?


This looks like a really interesting dish, though it's too bad it wasn't seasoned more. Does anywhere in San Diego make this?

ed (from Yuma)

Another great post. Wonderful pictures. Like Howie asked, is this dish available in San Diego?

It's amazing that they would suspect that English speakers wouldn't like Mam Tom. Who'd think you'd run into "you no like that" in Hanoi. Guess they've had American tourists before.

Wandering Chopsticks

Did you later go to Cha Ca La Vong then Kirk? Funny coincidence since I just made this dish last week. This time though, I used more oil like how it's served at Cha Ca La Vong. That extra oil seems to release more of the turmeric fragrance and softens the scallions. And I loaded up on the dill. I think too many people use dill sparingly, whereas for this dish, dill should be treated like a vegetable. Anyway, cooking with more oil really made a difference for me. I tried to be healthier in previous attempts with less oil and the result was never quite right. It sounds so simple, but I'm thinking that may have been the difference with your meal too?


Wow! The 'nam posts just keep on coming :D I hope you got more to post on here so we can experience your vacation vicariously.

Also...I really love how food is so cheap (compared to the States) in Asia. Thanks for posting up the prices of each meal. I get a real kick out of them :P


Yikes almost forgot:

Sorry to hear you won't be able to make it to the mixer at EC tomorrow. Was really lookin' forward to meeting you and the missus. Don't worry though, other bloggers n I will bring back lots of goodies for you!


Hi Billy - I agree, it is quite good, and when done well you can just keep on eating!

Hi Chris - The pepper is mildy sweet and fruity, and it could compare with the Aji Amarillo, but is nowhere as hot as a habanero. It is much more nuanced than the Thai Bird Chilies we get here in San Diego. The fish is precooked - it did look mildly grilled. Not enough overall flavor; usually there is something that stands out - ginger, galangal, etc. Actually, I had a chance to talk to someone about Cha Ca; I was told that the fish of choice is the "Ca Lang" or dwarf catfish. The reason I don't think you've had "Ca Qua" (snakehead), is that I believe it's illegal to import the fish into the US. The best version I had of this dish; at a friend's house was made with catfish. I hope that answers everything.

Hi Kat - In the end, we enjoyed certain portions of the meal.....but I had hoped for better.

Hi Rachel - I think these places only make Cha Ca.

Hi Howie & Ed - Nope, can't find this in restaurants in San Diego. Ed, if you want, on your next trip here, I can grab you and Howie and take a drive up to Westminster.....

Hi WC - You could be right....the Chinese believe that oil is the "pathway to flavor"....which is why some people freak when they see how much oil is used for some dishes. And no, we never made it to La Vong....we just ran out of time. I'd have love to have gotten there...and had a few more bowls of Bun Rieu as well.

Hi Roger - Would you believe that this was just about 4 days! It looks like you all had a blast at Eclipse.


Kirk the pix are really great, especially of the groups of people exercising around the park. I am going to look for that turmeric dill fish, it sounds fantastic.


ok I'm back, got home and read the latest saveur magazine, they have an article about Vietnamese-American recipes for crab. There's one for bun bieu cua ( looks pretty good...


Hi FH - You gotta love Savuer! I hope you're able to find some good Cha Ca.


Hum, the reason why the dill tasted bland is that you're not really supposed to eat it, or much of it--it's basically only used for aroma. The frying pan is filled with so much oil, you'd get a heart infarction on the spot if you eat all that dill and green onion drenched in oil. There's plenty of vegetables on the side to eat with the fish and noodles, and you can dip the vegetables in the sauce.


Hi Nhung - I'm sorry but I don't understand..."the reason why the dill tasted bland is that you're not really supposed to eat it". If you're trying to explain why the dill tasted bland, I don't think I get your point. We didn't pour the stuff into our it wasn't oily, we watched and ate it as all the other locals did in the restaurant. Hum......

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

LA/OC Based Food Blogs