We went back to Luong Loi in Wheaton for another sampling of their Vietnamese fare and were not disappointed. It was difficult to resist a large bowl of the ubiquitous Pho, but we did so in order to dig deeper into the menu. Again, this place offers about 60 to 70% Vietnamese dishes to 30% Chinese. We started with the Stuffed Chicken Wings. Expertly fried with minimum residual grease, they were stuffed with minced pork, scallions and carrots. I did not detect the extra traditional ingredient of wood ear mushrooms, but who knows. Sadly they were accompanied by an uninspired sweet and sour sauce. Mixing it with the red chili garlic paste provided on the table made it more palatable, not that it was bad, but I was hoping for something more I guess.
The wife ordered Lemongrass Chicken as she was not feeling adventurous. It was listed as Vietnamese style, but the dish had more of a Chinese style soupy sauce and was accompanied by green pepper, bamboo shoots, broccoli and pea pods. Good but not great. Again, nothing wrong with it, but nothing to shout about either.
I decided to go with the Whole Fried Pomfret as never having tried this fish before. Striped Bass, Red Snapper(Normally Rockfish!), Catfish and Tilapia are the usual suspects nowadays when it comes to whole fried fish. Pomfret aka Butter Fish seems to be common in Vietnamese, Thai and Indian cuisines and has also been mentioned recently in Rene G's great report on Banana Leaf, the Kerala style catering company. A flat fish with delicate meat on both sides, it works well with deep frying in that the skin is completely edible. The fish I received was covered in a layer of sauteed ginger and garlic and garnished with cilantro, chilis, cucumber slices and limes. A pool of fish sauce spiked with lime juice gave my fine gilled friend a tasty liquid grave. Mmmmm. Pomfret.