After hearing about all of the great Vietnamese restaurants and markets in southwest Denver, Jordan and I decided to try Da Lat at 940 South Federal Boulevard. When we walked in, only two other tables were occupied, one by a Vietnamese family and the other by a group of Vietnamese men. Both groups were eating the same dish. There was a big plate of noodles, a plate of greens and a plate of meat, and some sort of hot liquid.
Not knowing much about Vietnamese food beyond pho (noodle soup traditionally eaten with beef) we asked what everyone else was eating. It turned out to be a goat firepot and while we were open to trying it, our waiter suggested the mixed seafood firepot which came with shrimp, scallops, squid, octopus, some other varieties of white fish, and beef.
We piled greens and fish into the spicy soup filled with onions, mushrooms, and lemongrass and waited for it it to cook. Then after filling our small bowls with rice noodles we ladled on the goodie-filled soup. We both ate until we were very, very full.
While eating I wished I could take a food appreciation class where we would go to different ethnic restaurants and be taught how to properly eat the food, what are some typical dishes beyond those best known to "gringos," what are some of the ingredients, etc. It would include visits to markets and maybe even homes or kitchens of the restaurants for cooking demonstrations.
(Blurry photos courtesy of Jordan's phone.)