I remember having frogs for dinner a lot when I was a kid growing up in Hong Kong. Seriously it was one of the dishes that I really looked forward having. Having frog seem such a norm to me. They may be ugly and slimy but once they’re cleaned and chopped and cooked…oh so good. I prefer the dark meat of a frog over the white meat. Can I say that about frogs? Dark and white meat? But ever since I moved to the States I haven’t had frogs at all. Now after 24 years of frogless meals I finally ordered some at Bia Garden. Bia Garden is the brainchild of Michael “Bao” Huynh. I have never been to any of his restaurants nor tasted any food from him. Howard had informed me of this new beergarden and was keeping track of when it was going to open. After much delays it finally opened and we gave it try.
I really hate these sorta-secret entrance places. I guess they just opened but their name “Bia Garden” was written on a piece of line paper and was taped to the window. I walked in and found myself puzzled. Eh, where’s the entrance to the garden? Am I at the right place? Finally I had to ask somebody. The guy opened what I thought was the “employees only” freezer door but in fact it was the entrance to the back. I walked through a tiny and short hallway to another “freezer” door and found myself in the kitchen. And through the kitchen was the garden in the back. Like most of the venues in the Lower East Side, Bia Garden is small. Small and crowded. Bia Garden is all about Vietnamese street food snacks, they even have a snack cart.
Once I sat down my friends kept pressuring me to order the pig’s tongue from the snack cart. I am easily persuadable and so I ordered the pig’s tongue. I, as the title of this blog suggests, ordered the curry frog legs. On the menu they separated dishes in small, medium and large. There were only 2 large dishes a whole fish dish and something else. Both small and medium had around 8 dishes. Everything in the medium section cost about $13 to $15. Those better be some damn good frogs for $14. There was also salt and pepper shrimp, steam clams, good old summer rolls, chicken lollipop, pork sausages and other Asian snacks. As much as I hate how ridiculous the prices were for the food, I have to say everything really tasted good. Well maybe except for the clams, they were okay. But everything else had super strong flavors. The chicken lollipop was nice and crispy and it came with an awesome dipping sauce.
The frogs. They were just as I remembered, a little rubbery. Eating frogs is like eating chicken feet. They’re mostly tiny bones with little meat parts. Bia Garden’s version, curry frogs, came in a big bowl of curry soup and was topped off with cilantro. And hidden inside the soup were few pieces of frog, clear noodles and onion. Eh did I just paid $14 for 5 pieces of tiny frog parts and a little bit of clear noodles? Heck I could walk few blocks over to Chinatown and got all the same dishes for way less and gotten way more. $5 for 2 cubes of pig’s tongue, WTF?
Like I said before, food there had great flavors and at one point I asked the waitress if they have any bread to soak up all the broth. Sadly no but I got a spoon instead. Can’t you spare me some bread sir?
I guess this is the perfect time to let everybody know about our NEW!! blog, Drink To Blog. My friends and I love to go out and try new bars and beers. We thought it be cool to actually start documenting our thoughts about anything alcohol related. Yeah I know it’s just an excuse to drink more. So for my first Drink To Blog post, I’m going to write about Bia Garden’s beer and the garden. Please go check it out! Thanks.