Last week Xuân competed in an Engish club competition and his team were runners-up. Tonight they had a party and he invited me to go. My class was cancelled, so I was free. Xuân and Phúc picked me up and we went to the home of one of the girls in his team - a large room with a wet area at the back, in a compound of ten similar houses.
When we got there, we were first to arrive and a charming young man, Trung, was busily beginning to prepare the food. There was a huge fish (still alive) and a duck - also very much alive - and bags of vegetables ready and waiting. First up, Trung hopped in and cleaned and scaled the fish.
Then he filleted it, and chopped up the rest and put it in a pot with beef bones to begin the amazing stock.
The fillets he chopped into small pieces to be cooked quickly in the hotpot later, as it was eaten. The girls arrived and began preparing the duck... Plucked clean in no time and the feathers didn't go everywhere!
Xuân and Phúc and I prepared the green vegetables... mounds of them... enough to feed an army, I'm sure! After a few hours all was ready, and we sat down to an absolutely delicious , hot pot meal.
As we ate, they added tofu, fish, mushrooms and greens to the soup which was incredibly tasty. The duck had been cooked separately and was chopped into pieces ready for eating.
This is Trung - the chief cook. He made sure I had plenty to eat and drink and was very charming, even though he couldn't speak English. Once again, we ate and ate! After the meal they all pitched in to clean up and in no time all was clean and back to normal.
Then a bonus! We came home to meet Tinh! He had caught the bus down from Mông Dương to have the weekend catching up with friends and family. He will go to Hà Nội to see his niece for the first time on Sunday ... his brother's baby - and he's looking forward to that! We chatted for a bit and the boys went off to Xuân's.
My goodness, what a day of feasting!!! Sáng's culinary delights for lunch and Trung's delicious hot pot for dinner. Love Vietnamese food!