Today at Wholefoods I picked up a whole fresh red snapper (a bit more than a pound, at $9.99/lb, from New Zealand), and half of an octopus (about a pound, also at $9.99/lb, from South America). I actually wanted squids, but they didn’t have any, so I picked up the alternative.
I craved for this dish — stir-fried squid with celery, cucumber, and onion.
It was one of my childhood favorites, as I grew up in a coastal town and fresh squids were available fresh off the boats when in season. The octopus was a stand-in, but could not match up with the tenderness of squids. The boys each tasted one small bite of the tentacles and declined my second offer. It’s too chewy for them to eat.
I also craved for this dish — pan-fried red snapper with tomato and dill soup.
This one was not part of my childhood favorite because I think it’s a Northern Vietnamese dish. People from the south don’t eat too much dill, because I don’t think that I grew up eating dill that often. Anyway, I picked up this dish from a friend of mine who came to stay with me for a week when we were still living in Boston many moons ago.
The dish should be eaten like this…
Put a few dash of fish sauce in the shallow plate, cut up some fresh red hot Asian chilies, then ladle a few tablespoons of the broth into it to dilute the saltiness. Take the fish out from the bowl, and put into this concoction…
Then you eat it with fresh rice noodles, bún, not the kind for phở. A little bit of fish, some pieces of tomatoes, dill, and ladle some of the fish sauce concoction into your individual bowl…and don’t forget to sneak some chilies into the bite. There should be more dill that what I had but I only grabbed a small tiny bundle of dill from Wholefoods; should have brought two bunches. I love dills.
Anyway, I didn’t have any noodles left, and ate my meal with steamed short-grain brown rice. (I am cleaning up the fridge this week!)
And when Mr. O is not home, the kids ask for their favorite Vietnamese dish — egg omelette.
A whole view of our dinner. The boys ate pluots afterward to cleanse the palate.
P.S. Dill was not part of my food-consuming childhood back in Vietnam. Even when I was growing up in America, my family rarely, it not never, used dill in our southern dishes. I developed a thirst for dill after my study abroad trip in Vietnam when I visited Hà Nội and had Chã Cá Lã Vọng, the famous fried fish dish with dill and onion and fermented shrimp sauce. Somehow that famous dish cannot be that famous dish without dill, and plenty of it!
P.S.S. While I was trying to take photos in the backyard, my little Peanut wanted his dinosaur to be part of the picture.