Stuffed plump with crab, shrimp, and pork, then deep-fried twice for maximum blistering, these rolls induced swoons from everyone at the table. Even when tightly wrapped in lettuce and herbs and dunked with abandon in chili-spiked nuoc cham, the cha gio remained unbeatably crisp, the translucent rice paper wrappers shattering with each bite.
Archive for the 'Vietnamese' Category
I’ve been thinking a lot about Pok Pok’s Vietnamese fish sauce wings since my trip to Portland last fall. The perfect marriage of crispy chicken and potent nuoc mam, these unforgettable wings left my fingers sticky, my lips lacquered, and my stomach craving more.
Since jetting off to The Beaver State whenever a hankering hits isn’t very practical, I am on a mission to find a local source for similarly delectable wings. First stop: Cafe Artist in Orange County. This spot came recommended to me by Anh, a Gastronomy reader.
Located in the same Little Saigon strip mall as Vien Dong restaurant, Cafe Artist is one of the most popular quan nhau (watering holes) in the neighborhood. The place opens at 1:30 PM and stays bumpin’ till late.
The Astronomer and I, along with my friend Anne, came in for lunch and snagged a table on the patio. I’d heard that it gets loud and smokey once the regular crowd files in, so I was quite pleased that we had the place to ourselves at this hour.
We ordered five dishes between the three of us and managed to finish them all. First up was a hefty platter of oc len xao dua ($11.99),
cockles sea snails simmered in an irresistible lemongrass, red curry, and coconut broth.
As instructed by our waitress, we sucked with all our might to release the cockles from their shells. Mmm! Bowls of steamed rice were requested to make good use of the fabulous broth.
Straight outta Costa Mesa! Filing my third Scouting Report, “East Borough: When pasta gets the full-on pho treatment,” on the Los Angeles Times‘ Daily Dish.
While Chef LeFevre is best known for his way with seafood (and bacon cheddar biscuits), Chef Phan is a pioneer of “modern Vietnamese cooking.” The chefs found common ground this evening in their mutual appreciation for bold, Southeast Asian flavors and ingredients. In spite of their different backgrounds and strengths, the menu gelled harmoniously.
This unique kitchen collaboration was made possible by Common Threads, an organization that both chefs support, which is dedicated to educating children on the importance of nutrition and physical well-being and to fostering an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking.
The “four” course, family-style dinner began with a hamachi crudo with crispy shallots and Thai basil from Chef Phan.
I’ve eaten crispy shallots on top of just about everything from noodles to crepes and sticky rice, but never atop raw fish. The thin, caramelized bits paired beautifully with the thick-cut yellowtail.