Food post: Bun ca
Since food is one of my great pleasures, I thought I'd share the occasional food post with you.
On Sundays, my wife and I have the custom of going to the huge Vietnamese market complex in Malesice. Aside from the household supplies and countless dodgy textile stores, they have a couple of Asian grocers that actually sell fresh green stuff (hey, this is the Czech Republic) and some luncheon places that mainly serve the market workers. We usually go to the one at the end, where we sit huddled over a formica-topped table and watch Vietnamese state TV while having a big bowl of pho ba (beef noodle soup w broad rice noodles), or construct-your-own bun cha (crispy barbecued pork belly, not greasy at all, in a marinade, along with a bowl of rice vermicelli and a plate of greens. You spoon the marinade on the noodles, break up some greens on top and eat it with a slice of pork belly.)
This Sunday we had enormous bowls of bun ca, fish soup with rice vermicelli. They make it from carp, the local cheap farmed fish. Normally I avoid carp as it is rather muddy and has a mushy texture, but the soup is made from tiny crispy fried bits of carp, in a broth with hot peppers, tomatoes, dill, onions, garlic, and scallions.
The pink lump in my bowl was a big cake of fish roe. I don't know if it was carp roe, which I never would have thought about eating, but it was certainly edible, whatever fish it was. Probably carp just due to the size. I shared my roe with Eve, who never met a fish egg she didn't like.
Note also the condiments on the table, including a bowl of crisp fried onion and hot pepper in oil (white bowl in background), which makes pretty much anything delicious.