Sunday, December 21, 2008

After hearing so much about a fellow blogger, FoodGPS, we decided to meat for a day of food exploration. He had a few places in mind in Fountain Valley/Westminster and I am always willing to try new foods. We started things off by going to Cream Pan for their addictive Strawberry Croissant! The night before, I had just met the owner of Tutto Amore Gelato and invited him along for the adventure. Lucky for me that I bought myself a new GPS to guide me around the area to help find Đinh Thiêng. It's a very indiscreet place without any big signs so be sure to look for the label with the general plaza label.
One reason I was intrigued about this place was the adventurous food it offers. They have a dish that is made with RAW Duck Blood. I have never heard duck blood being served in the US, is it even legal?? lol Turns out none of us were adventurous enough to test it out, maybe next time when Ms. Lin is around and has had a good run of living... so that she will brave trying it out. For the dishes we ordered they gave us nước mắm, fish sauce. This special stinky smelly sauce is made from Fermented Fish so it has a rancid smell but this does not translate to taste. It is not too bad if you get over the smell. They also gave your typical Sweet & Spicy Garlic Sauce and a Salt & Pepper with Lime Sauce.
Even though we aren't adventurous enough to try the raw duck blood, we somehow compromised and got the cooked Duck Blood & Intestinal Blood Sausages. TL said that it did not taste like duck's blood but not quite pig's blood. The texture was more gelatinous like a very very soft tofu. Did I try this you might ask? HECK NO! If someone paid me, sure we can negotiate. From the discussion, I know I didn't miss out. I stuck with eating my Fried Quail! This is what caught my attention because of Craftsteak and Alize I have been in love with quail. The flavor was pretty good and the meat was tender. It was a great mixture of saltiness with a sweet tangy kick.
FoodGPS also wanted to try the Sizzling Venison. The preparation must be the same as how they normally season/marinate their barbecue. There wasn't a lot of meat on the plate and they were the ribs so not much meat. I thought it was very tender and flavorful, sort of like a Vietnamese Curry seasoning. It is almost indistinguishable that it is venison because there was no gamey flavor since the seasoning was much stronger. This can be a good and a bad thing because you never know what the flavor is masking... say the freshness of the meat? Also, it could hide the true identity of the meat! lol
All in all the food was not too bad. It was definitely and interesting adventure. The best part was to share this new experience with new friends. When we asked for water, they automatically gave us bottled water... this was a bit frightening.... I tried to turn a blind eye to the choppy English, the inability to communicate, the questionability of the food, and more... still I lived! That is an accomplishment in itself. I think I would feel safer if I had some Vietnamese friends take me here because they will probably get better service and better food. Another reason why I think the food wasn't too bad was because I had very very low expectations after arriving at my destination. As I have mentioned many times before, the first step to failure is trying... the first step to bad food is thinking that it will be good! The lower the expectation... the better it will seem by default... this applies to all aspects of life ^_-
I have enclosed the check for anyone who can decipher and tell me which item is which. **besides the drinks** I did look up some of the translations but they are not very helpful, so any insight would be great!

Đinh Thiêng

5126 Westminster Ave
Santa Ana, CA 92703
(714) 636-3508


Frequent Traveler said...

You are a very adventurous foodie to try these things, Kat ! The strawberry croissant sounded yummy to me - but duck blood & intestinal blood sausages ? Shudders....

Kat said...

Haha Thanks! The good thing is I lived! Strawberry Croissants are fabulous at Cream Pan. If you are ever around here, you should really try the place out. Avoid the duck blood! lol Except maybe if you are traveling through Taiwan. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Nice post, and thanks for the mention. I liked Dinh Thieng a little more than you, though there wasn't a single dish that can compete with Japonaise's strawberry croissant. We should have another O.C. eating adventure.

Kat said...

It was great meeting you and hanging out with you. I thought the food was not bad... the venison and the quail.. especially after the broken rice. It's much better ^_^

Nothing that day can compare with the yummy Strawberry Croissant... mmmmmMmmm thinking about it makes me want to go back get some more! There are some other pastry shops I hear are pretty good and I have been meaning to try out... so sure.. we can definitely go on more food runs. I am always up for that ^_^ Hope your having a great weekend!

Dave Lieberman said...

I was trolling the Internet for something else and happened across this.

The first item is salted plum soda; the second is bottled water. The third is grilled quail (chim cút rô ti), the fourth is pork riblets (sườn heo chả chìa). The fifth rejoices in the disgusting-sounding translation of "fried blood and blood sausage with scallion lard" (huyết đối chiến mở hành), but what it actually means is the blood, blood sausage and fried scallions with the oil used to fry them.

The Vietnamese for venison is thịt nai, and I don't see that anywhere. Either they just charged you something else that was $11.95 since they didn't have a grilled venison button on the cash register, or you ended up with pork ribs (which, from the description, you did). Grilled venison (a very common option in Vietnamese bars) is usually slightly tough and on sticks.

Sorry. I think no deer were harmed in the making of your dinner two years ago. If you want to try deer, go to Quan Minh Ky on Bolsa and order it there.

Kat said...

Thanks Dave for the translation of the food! It's good to know what was on the bill and to be sure of what I ate. I am okay that it wasn't deer and I will keep in mind the place you suggest to try out! Sounds like another fun foodie adventure, but I probably need someone like you as a guide. I have only had freshly hunted deer and was tricked, a long long long time ago so it'd be interesting trying it again. =)

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