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Que Huong's Vietnamese Salads

This salad at Que Huong restaurant at Beechnut and Wilcrest came highly recommended. It’s a pile of watercress with cold sliced rare steak and shrimp tossed in a light fish sauce and vinegar dressing. It’s #303 Goi Bo Tom Rau Muong on the menu. The dish comes with shrimp chips and an extremely funky dipping sauce called mam nem, a concoction of fermented pickled mudfish mixed with pineapple. You can dip the steak and shrimp in the foul-smelling nectar–or not. I kind of liked the flavor, you just have to ignore the rotting swamp water aroma.

The last time I ate a Que Huong, I ordered #301 on the cold salad menu, the jellyfish salad topped with seafood. This extremely refreshing dish is sometimes called “Summer Delight” or “Seafood Delight.” It’s Goi Sua Do Bien in Vietnamese. When the waiter delivered it, he asked, “Why do you Anglos always order this salad?” Before I could answer, he advised, “The steak and shrimp watercress salad is much better. Don’t be afraid of the smelly dipping sauce.”

With a challenge like that, I had to try it.

Truth is, I liked the steak and shrimp salad just fine. It’s a nice change of pace. But when the weather gets hot and sticky, I am thinking I will go back to the “Summer Delight.”

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