Now Eat This: Day 3


I’ve always said that if you enjoy eating and shopping, not necessarily in that order, then Dallas is the place to be. But as it’s been so cold and dreary these last few days,  I’ve done very little shopping and a lot of eating. Today it’s all about cha ca, which is (in this case) red snapper  flavored with tumeric powder,


then grilled (we love our George Forman grills, don’t we?),


and finally topped with dill, which I always forego:


Vietnamese food is actually quite easy to make, but the preparations are plenty laborious. For example, with this dish you have to also marinate the thinly sliced onions in vinegar,


boil the rice vermicelli noodle and roast some peanuts,


and grill the green onions which go over the bed of lettuce, cilantro, and mints. Finally we also have to make the nuoc cham, which is the dipping sauce consisting of fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, water, and chili peppers. So as you can imagine, a Vietnamese kitchen is always a controlled storm of tedious, busy activities, much like a beehive.  I suppose that would make my mom the queen bee calling out instructions and me the drone manning the various food stations. I won’t lie; it’s crazy stressful when things are sizzling and boiling at the same time, especially since there are always at least 2 or 3 dishes going on at once. But in my parents’ house, love hums in the kitchen.

In this picture below you can also see the crispy rice cracker that adds yet another dimension to this dish. Grilled fish sounds so simple in its description, but there are actually many layers to cha ca, from the exotic tumeric in the fish to the minty crunch of the condiments to the sharpness of the fish sauce, all contrasted with the vinegar yet balanced out by the comforting noodle. Vietnamese cuisine is all about blending textures with flavors. Is it any wonder that I can’t get enough?


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