I broke my canon. Again. But I got these in before I broke it. again. :)
This is a soup-y thing that's not really soup. It's not stew either. It's called "canh cua rau day vuoi muop". This, apparently, when translated into English is soup with crab, jute/salyot leaves, and luffa squash. *shrug*. Alls I know is, it's kind of like spinach and zucchini--except in the broth, it ends up being a little viscous when cooked. The crab is just lump meat more or less nothing exciting. Either way, delicious--and apparently Jute leaves/saluyot is also eaten in Egypt/West Africa. *Shrug*.
ca phao mam tom. Ca = eggplant--but in this case it's usually pickled baby eggplanst, hence them being so round and poifect! It's occasionally picked in regular ol' brine type stuffs, or in this case, with a little shrimp paste and chili. Shrimp paste: if only you bastards knew how freakin' AWESOME it is--just never mind the initial...aroma. *shakes fist!* :) This is a "northern" vietnam kinda meal...YAAAAAY. Comfort food like u don't even KNOOOOW. [for me it's also canh chua ca thi la-- sweet & sour soup with steamed tilapia and thyme/dill, trung duc (which is a little like a frittata), and I dunno. banh cuon (crepes type thing)].
and then there are the fruits: this one is a rambutan--kinda like a lychee, and kinda not.
It comes completely covered in that red/tentacled little casing-- my mom tends to do this whole cut it in half make it look pretty on a plate kinda thing. *ah* l'amour. This was dinner for Xmas eve. Shame no place in NYC or a lot of vietnamese ventures don't get down home like this and dilutes the menu, or rather, cater to the masses by doing solely pho or whatever french influenced (cubed beef) crap that overshadows the fantastic freshness and flavors that is Vietnamese food. One day...wocka wocka wocka!