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Vietnamese fermented rice?

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Vietnamese fermented rice?

Ruth Lafler | Jul 16, 2004 06:11 PM

I was having lunch today with a couple of other hounds at a new "nice" Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco (Bodega Bistro). There was a large party of Vietnamese folks at a table across from us, obviously having a special meal of some sort. At the end, they brought out dessert, which looked like a mound of risotto with creme Anglese and fruit. We asked the staff what it was. They said it was a special dish being sent to the party from the owner. The chef said he didn't have any more fruit, but he sent out a little of rice for us to taste.

Whew, was it fermented! It tasted (and smelled) like rice saturated with some kind of fermented grain spirit (i.e., sake). From what we were able to glean from the chef, it was the rice itself that was fermented and then processed (he said something about steam) to bring out the alcohol. By itself it was overpowering, but we could imagine that with a sauce (the chef mentioned zabaglioni) that it could be more appealing.

So, the question: does anyone know anything more about this dish, and has anyone had it served properly?

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