Thursday, October 16, 2014

The famous veal from Củ Chi - Bò tơ

Củ Chi is one of the suburban districts of Saigon. Not far away and a popular spot for tourists thanks to the well-known tunnels from the war times. For people living in Saigon, Củ Chi is still famous for some of their local specialities: the super fresh cow milk, the tapioca that you might try during the tunnels visit and the famous veal or as we say here "young beef" (bò tơ).

I've been to Củ Chi for this kind of veal dish before with my nieces, it was somewhere in some small roads, it was not easy to navigate if you are not familiar with the place, and the eatery was simply down to earth, spacious like in the garden, with few of low wooden tables and chairs, they only cook after getting the order. But last night our place was a kind of luxury, typically spacious in the suburb, with fancy furniture, nice dining room with air con and very good veal dishes.

                 A plate of veal meat, we dipped the meat into a soup of fermented sticky rice (hèm) 

If before to try this speciality - bò tơ, you may need to go to Củ Chi, but nowadays many restaurants serving it right in Saigon. I can't judge it's good, original or not, but some people still prefer going to the original place like we did last night, after a long half-working-hard-half-playing-hard day in our friend's farm, my friend took us to one of his favourite places for bò tơ in Củ Chi.

                The veal dipped into the soup of fermented rice , but don't leave it there for long...

Back to the dish, I can't remember the name, but besides the extremely tender meat, I have to say the soup of fermented sticky rice was very new to me. Very tasty, we dipped not only the veal but also the veggies, so it was like a hot pot. I did feel that the chef in this restaurant didn't use either sugar or "Ajinomoto" to season their dishes. But all was very tastily delicious!

                   the veal will be more tasty if it's just lightly cooked, so the inside still red. 

Talking about the veal, I really have no idea how young was the cattle, few days or few months old. Sorry for those who feel uncomfortably when hearing about the slaughter of the young calves. 

                      this could be a bit well-done but still tender...
                     after meat, now we could dip the veggies so it was like a hot pot. 

                 The grilled ribs, seasoned with lemon-grass, a bit of was good smell and tasty. 

                      if someone didn't want to dirty their hands...

                   grilled ribs with grilled garlic and okra... 

                 and fresh veggies, including some leaves with "sarsi" flavour, young banana, star fruit...

The last dish we tried was the porridge with green bean and tapioca and that was also like new discovery, tapioca in the porridge! But most important was the veal tendon, some other parts including the thick but tender skin.

                   The veal tendon into the porridge...

                    It was a super delicious dish... 

                   and with tapioca in the porridge - new to me! 

There was three different kinds of dip sauces in small green bowls : the fish sauce (probably for the porridge), the shrimp paste (for the veal dipped into the soup of fermented rice) and the pepper with lemon for grilled ribs.

              Here the restaurant Trường Lạc, a nice dining room with air con at the end of the corridor. 

         The address: Tổ 1, ấp Phú Hòa, xã Phú Mỹ Hưng, Huyện Củ Chi. Tel: 08 3794 8593 

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