100 Favorite Dishes, No. 97: Camarón en Agua Chile at La Palapas
To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2014 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.
This dish was already one of the best dishes I've had all year, easily. The camarón en agua chile at La Palapas is a party in a bowl. Clean, fresh tasting shrimp swim in a house made pequin pepper sauce. The liquid is rust colored, slightly earthy and so acidic with lime juice that the glands in the back of your mouth will cramp up when you take a first bite.
But then the folks at La Palapas had to up their game. As if one exemplary camarón en agua chili wasn't enough, they had to offer a second version in tandem. This one is in green, and it's even better.
Just look at it.
It's alive and fresh and bright. The cucumbers and onions taste more vibrant against cilantro and Serrano chile flavors that at pungency and serious heat, and the butterflied shrimp somehow keep up with all of it.
As with the red version, the dish is served with cellophane wrapped packages of saltine crackers, but I think the tortilla chips on the table make better friends. Just break off a manageable shard, and proceed to balance all the vegetables and shrimp on top as you can manage. When you think you're done, you're still not. You could drink all that "juice" as the staff calls it with a straw. It's that good.