Mực Xào Dưa Chua Squid and Pickled Mustard Greens – 347 of 365

Mực Xào Dưa Chua

An ordinary lunch at Com 31 in District 1 became an extraordinary feast for all my senses.  I looked around the room and it was just business as usual for all the Vietnamese but for me it was anything but.  Living longterm in Vietnam can make even the most adventurous amongst oblivious to the things that once excited us.  Today I took a step back and looked at things through fresh eyes as if I were just off the plane from America.

All the choices on the table by the entrance excited me like never before, and I stood in the way a full five minutes trying to pick out something not too scary yet not too firmly planted with the mundane.  Now I’ve had stir fried squid dishes before but none like this one.  The excitement of finding yet another new meal for this food journey whetted my appetite even more, and I pointed to the purplish seafood and green vegetable while impressing all around me that I could say mực, or squid.

The sauce was slightly sweet yet unmistakable vinegary.  Oh yeah, this definitely was a new one.  The pickled mustard greens added even more tartness to the rubbery squid.  The suction cups on the tentacles reminded me of how far I have come for I would have never dreamed of eating something so “exotic” and visually unpalatable a year ago.  Progress is good and mom was right.  Try it, you might actually like it.

Tentacles and Suction Cups

As I slowly savored the sourness of this street food find, I took in my surroundings as if I were new to Vietnam.  A few wall mounted fans whirred loudly as they stirred the hot, humid air.  A cat under our table greedily crunched a chicken bone while people all around slurped and chewed very noisily in that oh so distinct Vietnamese way.  The clatter of spoons and forks on porcelain added to this cocktail of sounds.

I couldn’t help but think about how mustard greens formed the basis of those boring wraps yesterday that just flatlined on the plate.  Here is that same vegetable yet prepared in a way that packs it full of flavor and punch.  Even the chaotic and cramped surroundings elevated this experience at Com 31 to one I shall not soon forget.  With this food journey starting to wind down, I need to make the most out of every meal like today.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Vietnamese Food

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: