I ordered the steak and shrimp today and didn’t even have to think twice about the price. Well, I almost had “steak and shrimp.” Steak and shrimp always pair so well at fancy restaurants back home, and I do enjoy that combination. You can just imagine my delight when I spotted something vaguely similar. This being Vietnam, I was able to suck down a plate of their spin on this combination for a fraction of the price back home.
The airport employee canteen delivered another decent meal on a somewhat rare break in between flights. The tiny prawns about half the size of a pinky finger were piled up inside a metal serving pan and I got to thinking if I order them, how in the world will I manage to split away the shells on so many. Our cabin crew offered friendly advice that that the shells indeed are fully edible and of course replete with the standard “good for health” adolations. Yes, only in Vietnam is an animal shell edible and as good as vitamin pill. Is there anything at all off limits in this country? Nose to tail cooking takes on an entirely new meaning over here.
So if I am eating the shell, aren’t I also eating the poop chute and all the other parts of the prawn normally cleaned away after the chef discards the shell? Choi oi! Visions of this bottom feeding creature scooting along the sand mopping up who knows what finally got the better of me and I left half of these ocean going vacuum cleaners before calling it quits.
All of this did taste good though, and yes, even the thin shells. The beef actually wasn’t tough like normal, and I enjoyed the spicy sauce a lot. The staff even produced a fork out of nowhere, and the cashier beamed ear to ear as he handed over this metal utensil like it would cure any and all eating woes. Of course I am well practiced in the chop stick and spoon arts and fully able to scoop lunch down my food hole using both in unison, but the fork was a nice touch.
While eating my rice, shrimp and beef, the fork man brought over a pile of steamed cabbage. Then minutes later came a huge bowl of vegetable soup. It was like the never ending feast. He also took me on a tour of the tableside containers of soy sauce, fish sauce, limes and peppers as if I had never before seen any of these accoutrement. I really get the impression that flight crews other than from my airline walk through this joint’s doors.
That’s fine though. That just leaves more of this cheap and filling food for the rest of us.