Refresco en Vinagre Food Pairing

Chris Simpson and Chef Manny Rocha of Academia suggest pairing their Shift Drinks: Reposado Edition cocktail with the chef’s Bánh Mì Fish Taco recipe. The Refresco en Vinagre cocktail’s hints of dill, coriander, and vinegar wonderfully lighten the taco’s fried fish, and the pickled sweet carrot and jalapeño in the taco also enhance the flavors in the drink. According to Chris, you can never go wrong with tequila, citrus, and fresh fish!

Bánh Mì Fish Tacos

Yield: Serves 4


Sambal Aioli
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sambal
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 jalapeño, diced 1
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
Taco Shells
  • 16 potsticker wrappers
  • canola oil for frying
  • 1 lb skinless striped bass fillets
  • 16 oz rice flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • canola oil for frying


Sambal Aioli
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  1. Peel the carrots. After the outer layer is peeled off and discarded, continue peeling long thin strips of carrot with the peeler. Cut those strips into 3″ x 1/8″ matchsticks.
  2. Leave the cucumber unpeeled and cut it into the same 3″ x 1/8″ matchsticks.
  3. Dice the whole jalapeño into 1/4″ pieces. For less spice, remove the seeds prior to dicing.
  4. Pick the cilantro leaves and leave them whole.
  5. Set all garnish aside.
Taco Shells
  1. Fill a small pot halfway with canola oil and heat to 350 ̊F.
  2. Once the oil is to temp, individually fry the potsticker wrappers, flipping once. As soon as the wrapper is flipped over, use tongs to fold it in half to form the taco shape. Be sure to not close the shell too much, as it will harden once it cools and then the fish will not fit into the shell.
  3. Rest the shells upside down on folded paper towels to drain excess oil.
  1. Place the rice flour in a mixing bowl, season with the salt, and whisk together.
  2. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl.
  3. Cut the fish fillets into 1-oz strips, then bread them in small batches with the flour and egg mixtures. Start by rolling in the flour, then coating with the egg, and finally coating with the flour once more.
  4. Slowly place the breaded fillets into the hot oil and fry them until they are golden brown.
  5. Rest the fillets on folded paper towels to drain excess oil.
  1. Place four taco shells on each plate, and fill each shell with one piece of fried fish.
  2. Drizzle the sambal aioli over each taco, and garnish with two or three pieces each of carrot, cucumber, and jalapeño. Top each with a couple of cilantro leaves.

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