February 15, 2008
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Seafood
Ton That Thuyet Street
District 4, Ho Chi Minh City
Fruits of the Sea – clockwise from top left – condiments for dipping, blood cockles sauteed in tamarind, grilled mussels, clams sauteed in garlic (25,000 VND per dish)
My friend Luscious loves food with a passion, so I’m working overtime to introduce her to the very best of Vietnamese cuisine during her month-long stay.
We’ve had lots of great food thus far, but the one eatery that made her squeal with utter delight was the seafood shack we stumbled into in District 4.
The blood cockles smothered in sweet and tangy tamarind sauce knocked our socks off. There were definitely numerous oohs and ahs as we hungrily dug into the plate. The Astronomer bought some baguettes from the vendor down the street to sop up the divine sauce because it’s criminal to discard something so perfect.
The clams with garlic were also finger lickin’ good! What’s there not to love about tender clams dressed in hunks of sweet garlic? These morsels were not as intense as the cockles, but truly just as tasty.
Our last course of the evening were the grilled mussels. I find it rather funny that chem chép nướng means exactly the same thing from seafood shack to seafood shack—grilled mussels topped with scallion oil and crushed peanuts. Where’s the creativity? The grilled mussels tasted just like they did at previous sidewalk seafood eateries; smoky, crunchy and yummy.
We walked back to the apartment with greasy lips and happy bellies.