Global Journey: Scene V
Chè is a term for a family of sweet and icy deserts. Black, yellow, red or mung beans, coconut milk, durian, agar-agar jelly, tapioca balls stuffed with coconut shavings and so on.... Today it’s chopped up Hội An corn in a sweet and goey mucus-like solution- a.k.a. Chè Bắp.
From now on I'm wrapping all Christmas gifts in banana leaves. Al Gore never thought of that.
Hến Trộn a.k.a. hến xào. Nearly microscopic river mussels are stir-fried and mixed with onions, chilies, rau răm and topped with peanuts. The meaty mixture is scooped up with crispy rice crackers and downed. These hến are harvested from the nearby rivers, no dirty fish farms up in here. Big ups to the ravenous couple for introducing me to this dish back in the day. One of my favorites in all of Asia.
Stroll over to the streetside stall of Cao Lầu Tý where many a grandma, grandson and uncle get their grub switched ON.
Thick rice flour ash-soaked noodles mixed with slices of roast pork and pork-fat crisped croutons. One of secrets lies in the local well water used. I don't dare ask more.
Bánh Đập. Steamed sheets of fresh paper are sandwiched between a willing pair of grilled rice crackers. The combination is dipped in a type of mắm- fermented fish paste that makes the standard nước mắm smells like petunias. Yet another resourceful creation combining rice with rice- from the country that ranks #2 in the world in per-capita rice consumption [trailing Burma].
Actually ate this one outside of Hội An but central Việt Nam style cơm gà chicken rice can be found all around Quảng Nam from Tam Kỳ to Đà Nẵng. The free range chicken is key. Vietnamese like their chicken a bit more fibrous than most westerners. As a cycle dude told me the other day: Western girls have bodies like gà công nghiệp - industrial chickens with soft and saggy flesh, while Vietnamese women are like gà chặt or gà ta- free roaming chickens with tight breast and asses. Feelin' THAT.