Sườn Kho Trứng Cút Ribs and Quail Eggs – 129 of 365

Ribs and Quail Eggs

I asked my cabin crew about some craziness I recently ate, and both of them smiled while excitedly saying, “Very delicious!”   By now the base ingredient of this lunch should come as no surprise.  Yes…you are correct…fish sauce mixed with soy, sugar, pepper and garlic.  Keep these basics in the pantry and before we know it, we are all cooking Vietnamese like the locals.

Of course this very common combination is normally a surprisingly pleasant taste sensation, and that I am hardly starving over here is proof enough.  However, and a big however at that, throw in one off the wall ingredient and the dish derails as fast as I can spit out the offending taste.   Sườn kho trứng cút is just that meal to crash and burn within seconds of entering my mouth.   Salty fish sauce mixing with rubbery hard boiled quail eggs filled with pasty yellow yolks just seems such an unnatural combination to my taste buds trained under the tutelage of  the western classics such as pizza and hot dogs.

Against my better judgment though, I pressed onward in the name of food research.  No one could ever accuse meat here in Vietnam of succulent tenderness, and these ribs did nothing to dispel the stereotype of toughened rawhide.   I enjoyed the marinade well enough but these animal chunks gave my teeth one heck of a workout.  Forget tetanus inducing a bout of lockjaw; chomping on these ribs with no hint of the meat giving up its attachment to the bone yields the same end result of  mouth muscles seizing up in painful defeat.

When my cabin crew asked if I enjoyed the pork ribs, I hesitated and not wanting to hurt their feelings just said they were interesting.   I guess no amount of nice words could mask my true feelings for they volunteered that dishes such as this one in the south of Vietnam even include coconut water to enhance the flavors.  Both women had even excitedly mimed small eggs with their fingers as they searched for the words to describe how much they enjoy sườn kho trứng cút.  Coconut water or not, I just can’t do hard boiled eggs, pork and fish sauce together, and unfortunately this is one food now cut from my rotation.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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