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Lunch at Vung Tau

Karen | Jun 26, 200210:08 PM

Finally made it to Vung Tau in San Jose for lunch today. Thanks for the menu tips to Hao - we tried the banh khot (#7 on the menu) - described as shrimp cake with fish sauce. These were absolutely delicious; tasted like they had coconut milk mixed with the rice, with a prawn half in the bottom and green onions and I think ground dried shrimp on the top. They had been fried on the bottom. Rather difficult to describe but very enjoyable. There were I think 7 of them to an order. The most unusual dish we tried was Goi Ngo Sen Tom Thit, "shrimp, pork, lotus root salad" (#85 on the menu). This was nothing like what I've seen before as lotus root - rather they looked and tasted like pickled white part of scallion but on closer inspection you could see the beginnings of the round openings associated with lotus; it was crunchy and fresh tasting but maybe had been partially cooked in a sweet rice vinegar cooking liquid. The pork was very thin slices of what seemed like poached meat and then there were cooked prawns, thin slices of red onion and green onion and loads of my favorite - rau ram. Also chopped peanuts and crispy fried shallots on top. The salad was dressed in a very light, thin, clear sweet tart dressing. It was served with large crispy chips (like shrimp chips but larger, crispier and more flavorful). You broke off a chunk of the chip, piled on some of the other ingredients and popped the whole think in your mouth. Yum, Yum, Yum. We're suckers for almost any dish of calamari and especially one with garlic so we had to order Muc Rang Muoi, deep fried garlic squid (#118 on the menu). Flavorful, spicy, slightly chewy pieces of squid in a fairly thick but light, spicy batter with pieces of friend garlic, green onion and slices of fresh jalapeno pepper. Had several other dishes but these were the best. Finished off with a drink - really more of a dessert - Suong Sa Hat Luu, Jelly tapioca seed with coconut milk and crushed ice. We waddled out to the car and I won't be having dinner tonight! Will be back soon to check out more on the menu - it's large with 134 food selections. Nice people, clean, easy to get to and great things to munch!

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