So after our lunch at Brodard Restaurant and laying out at Huntington Beach, I gave my visitors the quickie tour of Little Saigon. Basically, that meant heading to Bolsa Avenue to the Asian Garden Mall and the Cultural Court behind the Asian Village Mall. You can read my virtual tour of Little Saigon if you missed that post and don't know what I'm talking about.
The food court is in the center of the Asian Garden Mall. It's a popular place for people-watching, or grabbing a quick bite to eat. The sign says C&C Express, the white pages lists it as C&C Food Co., but either way, it's usually good for snacks such as fried bananas. Although, it wasn't the bananas that lured my cousin over. It was a little crock pot of eggs.
Not just any eggs, mind you. These were hot vit lon (Vietnamese fetal or embryonic duck eggs), also known as balut to Filipinos.
WARNING: I'm advising you to stop reading now if you're easily squeamish.
I mean it.
OK, but don't say I didn't warn you.
I'm not quite sure how Filipinos eat it, but for Vietnamese, the hot vit lon is usually between 2 to 3 weeks old, is boiled and served with salt and pepper, and rau ram (Vietnamese coriander).
Ewww! Ewww! Said I and everyone else.
(OK, I admit, I used to enjoy eating this delicacy when I was a kid and recently ate a few as an adult.)
The way to eat it is to crack the top of the egg and gently tilt it so you can suck out all the sweet brothy liquid inside the egg.
You can see the yolk and the duckling here. Actually, I think you should be happy this photo came out blurry. Then you sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top, tear off a few leaves of rau ram, and scoop it out with a spoon. This way, you don't actually see the little duckling's body parts.
The taste is a bit hard to describe. The yolk part is like a soft-boiled egg. The duckling is still soft, the bones and feathers are barely developed, so it tastes well, rather sweet actually. Sort of like the inside of a dumpling - meaty but juicy at the same time.
My cousin got so tired of me snapping photos while she was trying to eat that she scooped out a piece so I could photograph it and she could eat in peace. Ewww! Look at those feathers! I usually do not eat them that maturely developed. She really, really enjoyed her snack though and actually wanted to get more food but we said this was merely the prelude to appetizers before we moved on to dinner.
If you're adventurous enough and you're in the neighborhood, the hot vit lon are $1.25 each. You can also get them at most fresh poultry places. There's a place further down Bolsa Avenue toward Beach Boulevard that has large signs advertising fresh hot vit lon.
This was such a delicacy that in college my friend bought a few for us to eat. Unfortunately, he didn't know how long to boil the eggs and when he broke into his, it was still partially raw. So he tried re-heating the eggs in the microwave and they all exploded.
Except for mine.
I'm sure you can guess what happened next. I tapped the top of my egg and it exploded... right into my face. Oh, man, he recounted that story to everyone in the dorm.
Anyway, back to our story, Norwegian cousin's friend decided to snack on these Nem Nuong (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Patties). These meatballs were gigantic. Easily several inches in diameter. Three for $1.50. A little dry and nowhere near as good as mine. ;)
My brother's friend played it safe and just got a glass of freshly squeezed sugarcane juice for $1.75.
Other snacks include gigantic apple snails and another type of water snail cooked in coconut milk. Or you can stick to the very safe and still tasty fried bananas. :)
C&C Express (C&C Food Co.)
9200 Bolsa Ave. #308
Westminster, CA 92683