Even with just a handful of meals remaining before this goal of 365 is reached, Vietnam is still revealing new culinary secrets bite by bite. I am beginning to think I have only scratched the surface here even after a year of delicious discoveries. Another twelve months would definitely be in order to even more closely sample new varieties.
Café 91 next to my apartment is always a great source for a home cooked meal with today’s lunch no exception. A giant bowl barely holding a mound of a stew like concoction tempted me and judging by the constant ladles of this stuff flying into small porcelain bowls, many other lunch goers as well.
Picture a deliciously rich red liquid slightly oily in consistency. This sweet nectar is the glue holding together a motley assortment of odds and ends such as hard boiled quail eggs, chicken, potatoes, beans and carrots. Yes, you guessed it. That chicken was the normal hacked up pieces of bone, skin and fat that have so fascinated me since my arrival in Vietnam. One would think by now I would just know to stay away but the other ingredients in that tasty looking broth were just screaming eat me now. Chicken be damned, I was going for it.
With a little patience and careful butchery skills using chopsticks and a spoon, I was able to glean a small portion of edible bird bits from the rest of the carcass. And I must admit that chicken was indeed quite tasty and moist, especially marinated in that sweet-spicy sauce. Maybe all that fat and skin keeps in the juices while it cooks. Hmm…duly noted! I might just have to cook bone in, skin on chicken back in the US since it’s not the dried out stuff I am so used to.
But that appearance…I just can’t get over how intriguingly gross chicken looks when not served skin and bone free. Vietnamese chicken is indeed like a car wreck for me. Averting my eyes and ignoring the offending chunk of chick just is not an option for me much like how people rubberneck at a freeway mishap.
This one seems easy enough to recreate and will more than likely be one of my go to items when I wish to share a bit of Vietnamese culture with friends back home.