Fish. I’ve always seen as that dainty thing one would order from a restaurant. Yet, I’ve always enjoyed fish, but never craved it. Till now. This fish dish was meaty and just slapped me in the face with its masculine fin. The dish in Vietnamese is called Cha Ha (I think) and arrives to your table on a hot plate. Hot dog! Or should I say, hot fish!
Now this meal may seem strange to you if you’re only accustomed to eating fish with a knife and fork. I ate this food with chopsticks. Well, sort of. I took pieces of it and placed it here and there. But you understand my point. The fish was savory and was hot and fresh, with nice herbs to give the meal some kick. There were also onions that got caramelized with time, lending a sweet factor to the fish. There were also hidden peanuts which gave you an unexpected crunch. But the fish was the main star and just too good to not continue picking at. So hot, fresh, and herbacious.
What accompanied the dish were the accoutrements. There were two kinds of dipping sauces: a typical fish sauce which I am accustomed to, and a fermented shrimp/fish paste. The latter was not enjoyable for me. It was too potent for my, um, delicate pallet. Plenty of different fresh herbs like basil and mint came along with the the meal, along with lettuce and vermicelli noodles. The idea is to use rice paper (which cost extra) to roll it up into an eggroll/spring roll and get all the flavors into one bite. If you’ve never used rice paper before, you’re in for a real treat. It may seem to be like a solid piece of plastic at first, but after a quick dip in water, it become pliable and ready to become a wrapper. My advice would be dipping it in water until it is covered and placing it on your plate. Don’t worry, just a tiny bit of water is enough to soften it up. The only downside is having to wait for your food if you want to make a roll.
Unless you’re like me, and try the roll once or twice. And grow tired of it. So you just ignore everything else and go for the fish.
How many kupos does this meal get? 4/5 kupos!