Friday, March 15, 2013

Dinner at far away "shrimp hot pot 5 Ri"

This place should be my nephew's all-time favorite, it seems he has very few places like this in his mind. Whenever he has a chance to dine out, he always suggests this eatery to's not in Saigon, it's in Bien Hoa, another province, about 40km away. 
As it's called "Shrimp hot pot 5 Ri" but I may say the best from here is not really hot pot. It's another one - shrimp surimi (shrimp paste on sugarcane - chạo tôm). 

                    Shrimp hot pot - a lot of shrimps but some fresh, some - too dry for me! 

                  Only three kinds of veggies: giant elephant ear (bạc hà), okra (đậu bắp) and water spinach.  

                  Sour, sweet, spicy soup like Thai hot pot...with a lot of shrimps, without lemongrass flavor. 

                   My favorite from this hot pot place - chạo tôm, shrimp surimi, deep fried not grilled.  
Chạo tôm here is very tasty, but quite oily, so I need a lot of veggies (mostly lettuce with some herbs) to go with. I would prefer if the chef could offer the grilled one as an option in the menu.
Chạo tôm is originally from Central area, smaller in size, shrimp paste is wrapped around a stick of sugarcane, quickly steamed first then grilled, served with herbs, veggies, rice noodles and sweet, spicy fish sauce. Here at 5 Ri, chạo tôm, deep fried, served with another kind of rice noodles - bánh hỏi.  

              Bánh hỏi - a kind of rice noodles, thinner, braided as a net, topped with greased green onion.

                  My bowl with a whole piece of chạo tôm, lettuce and bánh hỏi, where is dip sauce? 

The next one is famous expensive sea snail, we call Perfume Snail (ốc Hương). Used to be one of my favorites before not now, because they are getting more and more expensive, a plate with a dozen of cooked snails costs around 300,000 VND (15 USD). The meat of this snail is soft, a bit strong and with a no mistaking flavor. Usually it's cooked with lemon grass, but what we have today is grilled snails.     

              A plate of dozen of Perfume snails (ốc Hương) can cost you nearly 15 USD or more.  

             Use a small folk to take the meat out from shell, dip in salt & pepper with lemon juice. Yummy!

We came to this place around 20:30, it's quite late for a large dinner, but my nephew's hunger seems bigger so he ordered three grilled big shrimps ( we were four but I have allergy to shrimp, esp. at night, so not for me!). To my nephew's disappointment, three shrimps looks much smaller than usual, so his hunger seems hungrier, he continued with deep fried fish cake order.

                   Three big shrimps but they are actually smaller than usual, 70,000 VND per piece. 

Our last dish for dinner was deep fried fish cake, I have to say fish cake here is good, strong (i.e a bit chewy, and it's considered good for this kind of dish), but the dipping sauce is quite strange, a combination of mayo sauce, tamarind flavor and chili! To be honest, I don't like it - the sauce.

                  Deep fried fish cake (chả cá), tasty and strong, served with quite strange to me dip sauce!

Finally, our dinner came to end, it was actually a nice treat to one of my nephew's friends who I happen to know long in the past, he came to Saigon from my mother homeland, Quang Ngai, for business and nicely brought some gifts for me.  

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