There is a little pho place right around the corner that I just love. They have condiments on the tables including what appear to be just fresh sliced jalapenos in vinegar. They don't seem to be cooked nor do they seem to have been given any time to "pickle". The proprietor's English goes south every time I try to ask about their recipes, so I've been on my own for this one. I've tried distilled vinegar and rice vinegar. I've tried adding sugar, salt and a combination of both. I've tried diluting the vinegar with water. I've tried adding the jalapenos to hot vinegar. So far, they have never been "right". Even though my peppers are perfectly fresh, the ones at the restaurant seem somehow crisper and less aggressively hot, even though the seeds and ribs are intact. I suspect that there is a "secret ingredient" that I'm missing, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it could be. Can anyone help?
Edit: 8/2015 Answer (from over 1 year ago) follows.