Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vietnamese Street Food galore!

So, I bet you're wondering where the heck I am?

I'm not in my kitchen right now. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty dang far away from it!

I just got through travelling my way all throughout Vietnam and I can't wait to show you all of the incredible eats I've been digging into.

But first please let me tell you how much I miss my oven! I miss my 8" baking pan, my cookie sheets, my rolling pin and rubber spatulas. I miss my whisk, my pie dishes and my candy thermometer. Oh dear...I think I'm going through baking withdrawal. 

Now that I've let all that out, I can go on and tell you all about the amazing food that you can buy right off the curbside along almost any road in Vietnam for not much more than a dollar!

It's a food-lover's paradise.

One thing that is pretty unanimous is that the food and the people of Vietnam tend to get better as you travel south through the country. Everyone seems to have their own way of making the same dish, and it varies depending on what city you are in.

I have tried so many different types of pho and bun, but each one has been unique. The Vietnamese have a popular saying that is actually very appropriate "Same same, but different".

Now onto the food...

First is pho. Pho is really just noodle soup, but the broth is meant to be absolutely seductive with a very understated use of cinnamon and star anise to create the most incredible aromas and tastes. My favourite is Pho Bo, which is made with rare beef and sometimes brisket, which is extra special. Very important accompaniments include Thai basil and an herb called shadow beni or culantro. It has a flavour somewhat similar to cilantro, but a bit more green in taste.

Then there is this super special green papaya salad that I hunted down. Now let me tell you that this gives Thai papaya salad a run for its money! With intense and sweet beef jerky, basil and savoury croutons, this spicy salad tingles every tastebud on your tongue! And of course, it wouldn't be the same unless you ate it from a plastic bag ;)

Street food is commonly served in plastic bags in SE Asia. I prefer a plate, but when in Rome... Oh ya, and it wouldn't be the same unless you ate it while sitting on a tiny stool on the sidewalk. Duh.

Baguettes in Vietnam? You betcha! Because of the French influence on this country, you can find fresh, crisp baguette stalls everywhere that serve up sandwiches for you made to order! Again, everyone makes it different, and after trying many, this vegetarian variation was by far my favourite!

Fixings typically include sketchy cold-cut style meats (and by sketchy I mean that I don't really know what it is but it tastes dandy), pickled shredded vegetables, cucumber, tomato, pate, butter, cilantro and other herbs, chilis and secret sauces. They range from a whopping $0.50 to $1. Talk about a steal!

Perhaps my favourite dish, Bun thit nuong! Bun refers to a variety of noodle dishes, some of which are more soupy than others, but my favourite is this one that I tried at a market in Hoi An which is served cold like a salad. "Thit nuong" means grilled meat in Vietnamese and mostly refers to grilled pork. It is served on top of a bed of rice noodles, pickled vegetables, cucumbers, mint, basil, lettuce, roasted peanuts and a sweet and tangy dressing. Some also come with a jus made from the meat drippings and this is extra tasty!

Are you hungry yet? Ok, I'll stop teasing you for now, but stay tuned for more SE Asian street food posts!

PS - I'm reading every single comment you have left on my blog and I love hearing from you! Unfortunately the mini PC that I am traveling with won't allow me to respond to your comments for some unknown reason. I apologize for that, but you can always email me (as some of you have) with your baking questions and I will be more than happy to answer!

Pin It


Post a Comment