Saturday, 7 June 2008

I Got To Cook !!!

We were lazing on the beach in Nha Trang, soaking up a few rays, making our pasty white skin look a little bit more healthy. When I overheard a conversation between two couples. One couple had been here before, and was telling the other about a local restaurant called Lac Canh. He was describing it as a local institution. A real gem of a place, mainly visited by locals. This intrigued me. He described the food there and how it was cooked, which sent my taste buds into overdrive. 
Later I enquired in our hotel about Lac Canh, and they raved about it. Saying most people go their at least once a month with the whole family. What more of a reason did I need. Dinner was set. 
We strolled to Lac Canh, which was at the other end of the beach, it was a pleasant walk. As we drew nearer to it, we could smell the meat being cooked. My pace quickened somewhat. When we arrived, it seemed as if the whole place was on fire. The smoke made it hard to see. We were shown to our seats and given a menu. We were promptly visited by a beer girl, this time from San Miguel. We ordered a large bottle. Best to order one at a time here, as it gets warm quickly, and I want to get out of the habit of drinking beer with ice. Around us were tables full of Vietnamese families, enjoying themselves. Laughing, joking with eachother and eating loads. 
The menu is short and sweet. A small section on beef, pork, chicken, fish of varying types, a salad or two and a drinks section. What more do you need. 
To begin with we ordered some beef, which was marinated in an in house concoction. Which I gathered consisted of chilli, garlic, rice vinegar and lime juice. We also ordered a plate of shrimps, a salad and some baguettes. 
A charcoal bar-b-q arrived on our table, the coals were red hot, glowing like the sun itself. On top was a grate for us to put our food on to grill. 
The beef arrived first, so with chopstix I placed a few pieces on the grate. The smell was divine, as it dripped onto the coals, smoke would drift up. It was heaven. 
At Leiths, I was always taught, that when you cook a steak, to know when it's done, it's all in the touch. So with chopstix in hand, I prodded the beef slices to see when they were done. Not sure if my teacher had this in mind when she taught me, but it worked. The beef came off perfect. Cooked, but still juicy. 
Popped a bit in a piece of baguette with some salad and munched away. Delish. Taste was divine, a little bit of heat from the marinade, some taste from the flames, but it was so moist. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. 
We cooked a few more pieces of beef, before we went for the shrimps. I had never cooked seafood on a bar-b-q before, well once before, when I got drunk and dropped them on the floor. So, this time I was a little bit more sober. As the heat from the coals was still quite high, they cooked pretty fast, turning them every so often, moving them around the grill as not to burn them to much. Peeling red hot shrimps with chopstix is a difficult job, but Lina is a natural at it. I may start hiring her out. They were delish, not as good as the ones we had n Bangkok, but pretty close to it. They were still juicy, but the taste of an open grill made them better. 
To be honest we ate the rest of the prawns and beef pretty fast. Easy to do when food taste this good. Now being a greedy git, I couldn't resist ordering some more. Shouldn't have, but I did. So I ordered some slices of pork belly marinated in the same in house sauce. These were a little more tricker to cook, as the fat kept dripping on the coals and flames would shoot up through the grates and lick the pork slices. So I had to be on my toes and keep moving them around the grate. They tasted divine also, the crispiness of the pork fat and the juiciness of the meat and their marinade was to die for that night. All washed down with several bottles of San Miguel beer, it was a fun night out. Plus I got to do a little cooking also. All this for about 5 pounds. I was in heaven.
Even though it was late, we decided to walk back as we were quite full. But with a full stomach and a happy heart, no walk is to long.

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