Okay, by now everyone knows I must have prahok every week or go into withdrawal...This time, I arose at the ungodly hour of ten, in order to have a companion for my Floating Rock run..
Tiger's Tears for 9Lives, (up to their usual standards, he reports...) I noticed that among the herbage, there was even the "Fish herb", or wet dog herb, as I call it, that is sometimes used as a garnish in Vietnamese restaurants. 9L and I both love Vietnamese food, but one of the differences we noted, between Cambodian and Vietnamese, seemed to be that while in Vietnamese, the herbs are on the side, and *you* combine them, In Cambodian, they seem to be integrated into the dishes already..
We also shared my current favorite dish in the world, Long Bean Salad with Preserved Fish and prahok, and their divine version of Hot and Spicy soup..This is one of my favorite items in any Vietnamese restaurant, and I wasn't expecting anything really different. We were pleasantly surprised; galangal, less lemon grass, and lots of shallots in the broth. Lotus rootlets, (love those), instead of bean sprouts, fresh oranges, and the white-fish steaks were browned before adding to the soup...Hefty amount of purple basil. Wonderful! The flavor lines are more distinctly drawn, the colors are a little more vivid.
Since there were only two of us, which limited our sampling, 9Lives wanted to take ANOTHER soup home (he's such a trooper)...I convinced him to try the wonderful Spicy Seafood soup I had had several months ago at By The Sea, giving us a chance to cruise by, and see how they were progressing under new ownership...The place was empty...He did order the soup, while we chatted with the staff...Seems they reopened two weeks ago, after the previous owner moved to Texas to open a Cambodian restaurant down there...Unfortunately, the new chef is Chinese...Not that that's a bad thing, but it's worth noting in a Cambodian place whose menu is already slanted toward Chinese dishes. One would have to order carefully to find and explore the Cambodian flavors.
So, onto the soup. We examined it in the car, definitely different from what I last had...Pieces of fish weren't browned first in trumeric, but the broth did appear to be thickened with roasted ground rice, and had a lovely scent...More opague and green than I remembered, none of the tangled massed of veggie matter...Jackfruit and coconut milk? 9Lives retreated to his cave to wait out the storm; he will have to post his observations...
Me? I've got some raw ankimo to soak in sake, then steam...Did I mention we caught last call at Sea to You on the way home? ;)