BEST FRIED SHRIMP - 2006
The "Hanoi Delights" plate at Sapa is the Vietnamese equivalent of the Chinese pupu platter: a huge sampling of appetizers arranged on one dish and meant for sharing. But like the archetypal pupu platter with its sole pork rib, this plate also features one item destined to inspire bitter rivalries between friends trying to divvy up the bounty. In Sapa's version, this single "fried shrimp" is actually shrimp paste wrapped in a crisp, flaky pastry shell, fried whole like a chimichanga, then cut into pieces. We've seen good friends nearly come to blows over the remaining piece on the plate, and otherwise reasonable people trying to hoard more than their share. The best solution is to order two Hanoi Delights so that everyone can have enough.