I meant to mention yesterday that I’d been to Saigon 5 again; the bun ga nuong was pretty good. Lots of chicken, although it didn’t really seem to have been “grilled”.
While at 99 Ranch, though, I checked again for the peeled garlic cloves, and voila. “Yuge” mountain of plastic containers of peeled garlic, as I’d seen at the beginning.
Before freezing the new cloves that I bought, I tasted one. A random sample, and relatively small.
Yes, this particular clove lacked the heat, bloom, and sharpness of a just-peeled clove. It had some of both, but not like a freshly-peeled clove. Yes, slightly oxidized maybe. Still, frankly, if I hadn’t known, I’d have written this off to a weak clove. Fresh chilies are like that too: You just cant tell how hot a chili is just by looking at it.