Monday, April 14, 2008

Last Meal: Ca Phao Mam Ruoc Hue

Most people who know me are fully aware of my passion for food, but only a handful know what my last meal would be. In all my previous attempts to answer this question, I've found it very hard to do this dish justice because it usually comes out sounding repulsive to all, but in reality, it's only repulsive to some. So, this post is dedicated to my favorite thing to eat in the entire world: ca phao mam ruoc Hue, which is basically fresh Thai eggplant with shrimp paste dipping sauce. Mam ruoc is more commonly used in the northern and central regions, and mam nem, anchovy paste, is more common in the south. It's a bit more diluted than the European anchovy paste that comes in a metal tube or jar. If you are Southeast Asian, you can probably appreciate this dish. :)


Since these eggplants are eaten raw, you will need to quarter them and soak in cold, salted water for 10 minutes to remove any traces of bitterness and keep the flesh from discoloration. Rinse and drain.


For the dipping sauce, I throw a few cloves of garlic and a couple chilies with a teaspoon of sugar and pound to a pulp. Then I squeeze the juice of one lime and add a big dallop of shrimp paste and whisk together until the sauce is a bit foamy and everything is mixed well. Garnish with some fresh spearmint and serve with hot jasmine rice.


It is strongly advised that one brushes his/her teeth very well after consuming this dish. Flossing and rinsing with Listerine would be even better. Enjoy! :)

9 comments:

Marija said...

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Tia Nguyen said...

Thanks, Marija! Just checked out your blog and absolutely love the pigs! :)

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Hi, came over by way of Gastronomy. Too funny! I recently had this recipe except with mam nem. :)

Tia Nguyen said...

Hi, WC! Welcome to my house--I'm so used to seeing you on Gastronomy. :) My cousin's wife made this dish with mắm nêm for me when I visited Huế, and it was spectacular! But for some reason, the mắm nêm that I get in the states is just not the same. Glad to meet a fellow fan of this under-appreciated dish! :)

emily said...

Went to my neighborhood grocery store and was shocked to see that they stocked Thai eggplant and I thought about you. Hmm...Boston amazes me everyday.

Tia said...

You should absolutely use them in your curries. Who knows, maybe you'll brave up and even try to make this dish one day! Hehehehe. :)

Anonymous said...

I am eating this underrated dish right now. Except without rice. I can just eat it by itself. I also pour all the sauce in it. Yummy!!

I love Gastronomy too!

Anonymous said...

I love ca phao with the roasted banh trang that you can get in south central Vietnam, and "mam dong", made by the Cham people in Phan Rang from fish that live in the rice paddies.

Anonymous said...

Crossed town to find a jar of Mam Ruoc just to make this recipe...and boy was it worth it.
Yum !!