Monday, May 3, 2010
So I was eating dinner the other day and the bf asked me what I had. I explained that I had fish that was really fresh because it was just killed a few hours ago at the Chinese market I was at earlier. He proceeded to call me a fish murderer because my peeps at the market didn't kill the fish humanely. I'm sure they pet the Japanese fish before they cut them alive for sashimi. It did bring up a good point though. Chinese and Vietnamese markets are the only markets that kill the fish the way they do. When you go to those markets, theres basically 2 types of fish-dead or alive. The dead ones are just frozen on ice and they cheaper. The ones that are alive are still kicking and swimming around in the tank. If you chose a live fish like my mom and I do, the guy that works there picks the fish up in a net and then chucks it at the floor to smash its head, gives it a concussion or puts it on the table and hits it over the head with a hammer thing. The live fish with the major headache is then skinned and washed.
Well yesterday, I decided to be more considerate and sent him a picture of the fish that was about to end up on my dinner plate so that he could name my fish before I ate it. I'm so thoughtful, I know. Bf named it Brutally. Short for Brutally Murdered. har har
Well to add to the fishiness of this post, is an awesome Vietnamese dish called Baked Catfish. There's this amazing place in San Gabriel that makes the best baked catfish that recently opened up another shop so my fam and I decided to give it a try. The place was super clean and had great service. *RED FLAG in Asian talk* Too clean= no good! For real though, the catfish wasn't bad here at the newer shop but it definitely could not top the old location. The new location of Phong Dinh is at Phong Dinh at 501 West Garvey Ave. Monterey Park, 91754. The older, dirtier, dinkier, OG location is at 2654 San Gabriel Blvd. Rosemead, 91770. It's your choice. Read through before making your final decision.
When you order the catfish, this is what comes out. You put the noodles, lettuce, and other herbs into your rice paper. It's basically like a tortilla but you have to make it yourself. You dip the rice paper tortilla into the hot water which makes it soft. Then you dip it with the browish sauce on the right. Phong Dinh has 3 different sizes of catfish. Small=$35 Medium =$40 and Large $45-50. The new location is really nice about the fish. They don't lie to you. The old location likes to lie that they only have the medium or the large for the day so they try to make you pay more, which is ridiculous because if you order a smaller fish that means that you can order more of their other dishes.
Here's our catfish. This is a small. I named him Bruce.
Here's a shot just of Bruce's head. You can see oranges, peanut shavings, and green onions giving Bruce a good bath. The skin was crispy on Bruce and the meat was soft but it was not as good as the catfish from the Old Phong Dinh in San Gabriel. They soak their catfish in much more spices and bake them with loads of onions. Don't get me wrong. Bruce-you were good. I've just had better!
Overall, if you want to try some amazing fish go to the Phong Dinh in San Gabriel. The atmosphere is dirty but it's awesome. I'd trade that in for a nice, fancy place any day. But-if you want a nice, clean place where people are actually nice to you then you should go to the newer Phong Dinh. The new shop also is giving away free soda. They also have everyday specials for $3.95. That's cheaper than McDonalds and they give you a free drink!
And here's the fish we had today. I named him Bruno!
Here's the Chiu Chow porridge that Bruno came with or actually that bits of Bruno were in. The right is Bruno almost completely eaten. Bruno was from freshly caught from Kim Tar at 964 E Garvey Ave Monterey Park, 91755. The place looks super sketch outside but they are actually pretty good. They remodeled the inside and the old waiters can even speak English pretty well. (I heard them speaking with the table in front of us.) He was even joking with them! Wow!
They even gave us free green bean dessert!
So don't worry about your fish or how those Chinese people in the market gave them concussions by slamming them into the floor, just name your fish, say thanks, and Viola!