Tag Archives: vietnamese food

The Vietnamese Rice Roll Party

Time for another post about all the amazing meals Evan has been making for me! Hooray, lucky you guys!

I realize I have been talking a lot about this lately and I hope that’s not annoying. I don’t want to become one of those girlfriends who raves on about how OMGAMAZING her boyfriend is all the time. Not that I don’t understand wanting to. I almost wrote a blog post about how amazing Evan is the other day and then I stopped myself because I realized probably no one cares except for me. I mean, let me know if you do want to hear about that because I’ll gladly go on about it…

However, some things are just too good to go undocumented, and for me the things that I can’t seem to shut up about are food related. Mainly because they are foods that I would never think to make for myself! For example, Tuesday night I got home late from volleyball and made myself a peanut butter and jam sandwich for dinner. Very gourmet, I know. Let me know if you want the recipe.

The night before Evan made me red curry chicken and lentils with tumeric. Homemade, from scratch. And also potatoes with toasted mustard seeds.

curry

Those are bamboo shoots by the way, not noodles. I think it was the best curry I have ever had, even from a restaurant. I will have to post the recipe another time because I have never actually seen him follow a recipe (he just wings it, what is up with that?!) and I have no idea what he did to make that. All I know is it involved coconut milk and a lot of different spices and I couldn’t keep up. I just chopped vegetables. I am usually good for that.

Last week I arrived at Evan’s pad after work and he had decided he was going to make authentic Vietnamese rice rolls. I was SO EXCITED about this I started hopping around their kitchen and clapping. Could not stop myself. And I was involved in that whole process so I can confidently talk about it.

First you cut up your veggies into thin strips.

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Their kitchen has been looking like a produce stand ever since they got the juicer. I like it. Anyway, we used carrots, cucumbers, and also bean sprouts.

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And mint leaves!

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Evan had bought very thin strips of pork and beef, so he cooked that up in separate pans with some oyster sauce.

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Pork

The meat was amazing, the beef especially. It really made the wraps I think.

While Evan handled the meat, I was on rice noodle duty.

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I’m not going to tell you how to cook noodles, hopefully that is a skill you have been able to master by now. But I will tell you about the rice paper for the wraps because it is a little more tricky. The rice paper looked like this:

rice-sheets

I don’t have a picture of the actual kind we used but it’s basically all the same, whatever brand you go with. In the package they are literally like tough, thin paper, so to be able to roll them into wraps you have to soften them up. To do this just stick them one at a time in a bowl of hot water for about 30 seconds. They will become soft and pliable.

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And see-through. And sticky! They will stick to everything, especially themselves, and if you try to roll them on any kind of hard surface they will stick to that. We just used a clean tea towel to minimize all the sticking.

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It worked out well. We spread the wrap out, added the meat, veggies, rice noodles, mint, and sesame seeds that Evan toasted (he just used a pan for that), and then we rolled those puppies up.

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Shazzam. Pretty authentic looking, right?

While Evan and I were working on the wraps, Brotherman was doing the juice thing.

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I love how you can just throw anything into the juicer and it will turn it into delicious juice. I want to get one, but then I’d have to clean it so I’d probably never use it. I’m actually surprised these guys have been using theirs for as long as they have. I totally expected that to be a fad but it’s been over a month and they use it daily.

Anyway, Evan knows about my intense love affair with all things saucy, so he had an ample selection for me to dip my rice rolls into.

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The soya sauce and the sweet chili sauce were my fave dippers.

It was a really, really great dinner. We had so many rolls.

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I loved it.

The wraps were pretty easy to make, just a bit on the time-consuming side. If you cut up your veggies in advance that would save a lot of time though. Highly recommend!

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Pho Com Vietnam (just watch out for the pho…)

There’s an authentic Vietnamese restaurant in North York called Pho Com Vietnam that Evan and his lads frequent often.

The first time I went there with him was the day before we left for Florida, and I cannot lie, I didn’t have the best experience.

Evan told me he always gets the same noodle dish and never strays from it because the menu is extensive and kind of hard to decipher so sometimes you just don’t know what you’re going to get. Brotherman told me that one time he went there and ordered something random off the menu, and his soup came out with an entire pig’s foot on top of it. Evan suggested that I let him order for me as he knows the safe, pig’s foot-free dishes that are delicious, but I was stubborn and didn’t listen and I ordered the bun bo hue dac biet, a soup with pork, for myself.

Evan was very skeptical of my selection and was all “don’t say I didn’t warn you…” before my soup arrived. Probably I should have listened to him.

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It’s not that the flavour wasn’t good… But I was surprised to see lunch meat in it. And not just any lunch meat, the lunch meat that includes other meat and vegetables.

You know the kind I mean.

lunchmeat110207_1_560Ughhhh no. I don’t get weird about food very often, but that stuff really creeps me out. I don’t know what it was doing in my soup, but I didn’t want Evan to be all “I told you so” gloaty-pants so I ate a piece of it anyway and said it was delicious. It wasn’t. So I ended up eating most of Evan’s noodle dish, which was much better.

This weekend Evan brought me back there to turn my experience around. With the promise that I would listen to his recommendation.

We started with sweet tea and beer.

beer

Pretty good combination right there.

And for an appetizer we got the shrimp tempura, which you really can’t go wrong with ever.

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And here is what Evan ordered for me.

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The bun cha gio, thit nuong, chao tom. Or grilled pork, shrimp, spring rolls and vegetables on top of rice noodles. Big improvement over my weird lunch meat soup!

It’s served with fish sauce on the side, so you add that to the dish and mix it all up.

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I went to smell the fish sauce before adding it to the dish (because I like to smell things) and Evan stopped me and said no, don’t smell it, just pour it on top. This time I listened to him, as maybe he knows what he’s talking about…

Anyway, I really, really liked this dish. The pork and the spring rolls were my favourite, but the shrimp was really interesting. It was kind of like ground shrimp and it was wrapped around a stick of sugar cane.

Much, much better experience this time, and my opinion of this place changed right around. I still do want to go back here and try different things, because a lot of the dishes on their menu do look really good. I think I will just need to ask more questions so I don’t end up with intestines or (shudder) tripe. No thanks.

What’s the weirdest dish you’ve ever gotten in a restaurant?

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