Xương Cá Fish Bones – 351 of 365

Fish has been largely absent from this food journey.  It’s not that I don’t like fish…quite to the contrary actually.  I just don’t trust the fish in Vietnam all that much.  I’ve seen large slabs of our ocean going friends festering in the hot midday heat at markets and can’t help but wonder if these petri dishes end up in a restaurant near me.  And to be honest, the waterways around here are just so dirty I surmise a piece of fish is just a conduit of everything lurking in that water and my body.

Against my better judgment I ordered a piece of fish in a reddish sauce at one of my old standbys, District 1’s Com 37.  The spicy sauce with a hint of lemongrass totally hit the spot and the mound of steamed rice greedily absorbed every last drop I ladled on top of it.  This savory nectar even perked up the stir fry green beans and vegetable soup.

As far as the actual main course went though, I just couldn’t dive into it.  The flakey white fillet tasted somewhat how I would imagine the bottom of a muddy riverbank, and I had to wonder if this was some sort of bottom feeding catfish.   Taste aside, it was just quite a bit too boney for my tastes.  Each small bite left a mouthful of needle like cartilage I had to fish out with utmost care.

Fear of swallowing a bone just kept me chewing and chewing until the actual meat was a wet, pasty unappetizing mess of slime disintegrating in my saliva.  Nice visual, huh?  Well consider that I am the one who actually had to eat it.

After my third attempt of taking a bite, I just spit the whole wad into the tableside roll of toilet paper that doubles as napkins all across Vietnam.  Troi oi!  I threw in the towel and called it a day and reminded myself of why I am not that big a fan of fish Vietnamese street style.  At least the sauce and rice were a ten out of ten.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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