Stop Eating Shrimp!


Today marks my fourth complete week on the road and while my head is still in full overdrive, my belly is craving Rubio’s fried shrimp tacos (sigh) and Vien Dong Restaurant’s cha ca Thang Long (sizzling dill and tumeric fish dish) (longer sigh) from southern California. Luckily, I’ve been able to find enough ingredients here in Belgium to appease some of my hankerings. While visiting my adoptive family in Namur, I’ve had a lot of fun preparing a few VN dishes that they’ve come to love as much, if not more, than I do. At a local Turkish market we found produce and herbs like cilantro, mint, and scallions. I think we were only missing the bean sprouts:


The rice noodle and fish sauce all came from a nearby Thai store (where we also bought tumeric powder for my beloved cha ca dish)…


The rest of the ingredients like pork and shrimp came from the local market, and on a mini grill…


we made enough Bun Tom Thit Nuong (or in my case just bun tom nuong) to last for three days:


Unfortunately I’m banned from eating any more shrimp. I have some kind of allergy to them and am suffering from the dreaded fat finger symptoms.  Right hand only.  Weird, I know.  I’ve been to the doctor for this problem a few times before because my fingers swell up to two times their regular size, turn a weird color, and don’t bend, and her sole professional medical advice is: stop eating shrimp! You can see why I just self-medicate now. But my antihistamines are not working so I’ll be substituting fake meat for this dish next time. Anyway, I’m just glad I was in charge of cooking instead of dishwashing. 

Since we’re on the subject of eating and grocery shopping on the road, let me share some things I photographed at a recent big outdoors Saturday market.


There were vendors of produce, meat, cheese, and even clothing everywhere. I can’t say I have much of a sweet tooth but when I see beautiful chocolates I just want to collect them:


Who am I kidding! I wanted to stuff my face!


On this particular Saturday it was Valentine’s Day so the flower section was especially lively:


Besides architecture and pearls I think I could spend hours looking at flowers. The blush calla lilies below are one of my favorites:


Here are some more unusual vegetables I don’t see often or ever at home. The first one tastes like a white carrot:


See you in the next blog. I’m going back to my breakfast tartine now while fantasizing about a bowl of bun tau hu ky from Pho 79 in Alhambra, California. Longest sigh.

1 Comment

  1. Peter

    Yum,, I’m going to go get some Vietnamese food now.

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