Trai Coc at Tank Noodle
For a very limited time, Tank Noodle on Broadway has trai coc, or pickled hog plums, on offer. As I have mentioned here (and elsewhere) before, trai coc is a seasonal Vietnamese savoury fruit snack and an incredibly rare find here in the midwest. In fact, I have never know it to be available anywhere but Tank Noodle and the occassional Vietnamese home. [I first tried trai coc four or five years ago at Tank Noodle when it was located a few block east of its current location, and to my knowledge Tank has prepared it only one other time since then.] Anyway, for the preparation of trai coc, unripe/green hog plums are scored and briefly brined in a salty vinegar solution and served with a spicy dipping salt.
Portland chowhound and food blogger extramsg sampled this item with me on one of his many visits to Chicago and a picture can be found on his blog:
Odd? Yes. But, I would strongly encourage the intrepid diners here to give it a try. And, soon, while they last.
At 1pm this afternoon I purchased the last two plums available this season, and as I intimated above, I'll be lucky if they produce another batch at some point in the next 2-3 years.
Anyway, it's funny how fast they move. Yesterday I got one of the very first plums available and already they're gone. 50-70 pieces, just like that.
How interesting. The "hog plum" is a type of fruit, but what is it like? Is it grown in the US or somehow imported from Asia?