Trứng cút nhồi chả cá Eggs Wrapped in Fish – 111 of 365

Eggs Wrapped With Fish Paste

Finally, something fully recognizable was coagulating  in the metal serving trays at Cafe 91 in Binh Thanh District.  Not that the more authentic choices there are bad or anything.  Most actually turn out to be quite good once we look beyond their interesting outward appearances.  With that said, digging into a whole fried fish eyeballs and all can test the best of us, so coming across innocuous looking meatballs is one of those simple pleasures in life.

The tiny white styrofoam takeaway box held what surely was going to be an amazing taste of home.   Well, I should have know better as this lunch was full on Vietnamese.  I got to thinking why did I even expect otherwise?  Now with a salty fish sauce-like film covering my tongue from the initial taste, what could possible come next?  Well soon enough my teeth sliced through this curiously weird shell and into a hard boiled egg with pasty yolk.  I didn’t know whether to be revulsed by this combination that would never find its way into a western kitchen or to keep going in an attempt to actually like it.

Keeping an open mind prevailed and I actually pressed onward still not quite knowing what I had just ingested.  On the one hand I wanted to know yet on the other hand certain food mysteries in Vietnam are better left unsolved.  Curiosity finally got the better of me so I emailed a friend pictures.  A full day would pass before he responded with, “I think this food is bird egg with pork or fried fish. If it’s pork outside, we call Xíu mại trứng cút. It’s fried fish out side, it’s Trứng cút nhồi chả cá!!!”

These “meatballs” definitely roll with a decidely more fish than pig taste, so I will guess they once found a home deep in the sea before stinking up mine to high heaven.   How in the world do Gobstopper size pieces of food have the power to foul up an entire residence?   Come to think of it, I may have finally cracked the mystery of why Vietnamese restaurants are open sided on one or two walls.  The food here requires proper ventilation.

These things really did do a number on my place and consider this my public service announcement…Korean made “Fresh Linen” scent air spray just causes everything to get its swirl on with an odor much like a potpourri dipped slice of anchovy pizza dipped.  It’s times like this paying a little extra for a corner unit is worth every penny since that cross breeze works miracles sweeping in humid polluted outdoor air to replace the indoor havoc four tiny balls can wreak.

Though my apartment may have succumbed to the fumes wafting out of the takeaway box, trứng cút nhồi chả cá is one I will gladly eat again (albeit in a restaurant).

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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