Monday, September 15, 2008

Ike Evacuation, Part 2

Our second night back was spent at my wife's aunt's place where it's obvious she shares my mother-in-law's hatred of hunger.

Meal @ Aunt Cuc's
Clockwise from the watermelon chunks: mango salad, eggrolls and fried shrimp crackers, fresh greens, rice noodles with pork and various condiments. In addition to this fotos, she also steamed some beautiful blue crabs. However, there's no fotos of the crabs because I was too excited and forgot, which seems to happen more often than I'd like.

Aunt Cuc's Mango Salad
Here's a close-up of the mango salad. This is traditionally prepared with green papaya instead of mango, but my aunt-in-law was experimenting. But unlike my high-school chemistry class, this experiment was wildly successful. The mango was tender, the cucumbers were crisp, the peanuts were crunchy, the shrimp was firm and the herbs were flavorful. All this tossed in a light mixture of vinegar and sugar makes for a refreshing salad that easily fills you up without the guilt.

Aunt Cuc's Eggrolls
Of course the salad has to be guilt-free because here is where all the guilt lies, home-made eggrolls and fried shrimp crackers. Eggrolls are the Vietnamese equivalent to the hamburger. Everyone makes them slightly different and it's very hard to mess up. These were delicious; I had three after I was already full, just to make sure I was full. I think she uses a shrimp and pork mixture. The shrimp crackers are always a favorite of mine. You can buy these things packaged at the store where they look and feel like little squares of uncooked lasagna. However, toss these babies into a pot of boiling oil for 30 seconds and they'll expand into what you see here, crunchy salty shrimp-flavored wafers that make me feel like a kid again. What I like to do with them is just put them against my tongue and as it dissolves on my tongue, a strange vacuum is created causing it to stick. To me, this phenomena is undeniable proof that I was meant to eat it.

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