Sunday, August 23, 2009

Eating in Jersey City

When I dine out, I am usually all about variety. If I return to a place multiple times, I like to try new dishes each time, only occasionally falling back on a few favorites. But when it comes to eating at my favorite Vietnamese place in the region, Nha Trang in Jersey City, I never waver from my favorite dish - grilled pork over broken rice.

I have tried other things by ordering some dishes to share with the table, but for myself, the pork is the thing that I crave, the only thing that properly hits the spot. The pork is thinly sliced, slightly sweet and charred. The smaller bits of broken rice, fluffy and light, cushioning the pork complete the dish. The sauce served with the dish is typically a mix of fish sauce, sugar and garlic with a bit of julienned carrot. Dip the pork in it, pour some over the rice. It is delicious and I use the slices of tomato and cucumber on the plate to soak up even more of it.

There are options to get the pork over vermicelli, as one of my dining companions did, or as a grilled pork chop. I still maintain the grilled pork over rice is the best of the bunch.

On this night, we also ordered the shrimp summer rolls, which are always fresh tasting, enhanced by the bites of mint and the peanut dipping sauce. And a plate of garlicky water spinach rounded out the meal.

Feeling adventurous, I also went for the salty lemonade. Unfortunately, it was not good. It tasted musty, like something an old Asian man might like. Guess I'm better off sticking to my favorites here.

Post dinner we headed over to the bustling Torico's Ice Cream Parlor.

After a round of sampling, my friend and I settled on sharing a two-scoop cup of vanilla peanut butter and coffee cookie. The fudgey peanut butter was the best part. It was gone in no time. And then...

Round two: vanilla soft serve in a cake cone. Creamy and custardy (it was thick and didn't melt fast), this topped off the first dessert blissfully.

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