Vietnamese Tag

HOMEMADE INSTANT NOODLE MIX SERIES: INSTANT PHO BO MIX

 

WHAT:  Instant pho bo noodle soup mix, the answer to the prayers of all the geographically misplaced and physically unable foodies who make the regrettable mistake of watching a Vietnam street-food video on Youtube pass 10 PM.  We know who we are.

WHY:  Widely known as a labor-intensive and time-consuming dish, yet cruelly happens to be the most desired slurp from Southeast Asia in North America, pho bo has been tormenting addicts who are kept apart from a proper fix due to cold hard geography, or, something no less ruthless, a human condition called sloth.  But this barrier is no more, my friends.  Because what is mankind if not the extraordinary will to cheat its way through shortcomings?

HOW:  Every single aromatics and spices that are used in the traditional preparation of pho bo undergoes the exact same treatment in this recipe, the charring of the onion and ginger, the roasting of shrimp paste, the calculated balance of spices.  The only difference is that the mixture is blended together with an ultra-reduction of store-bought beef broth and fish sauce, into a smooth, saucy seasoning.  When the craving hits, the complete obliteration of the ingredients allows their full and speedy release of flavors and aroma where they dissipate into more beef broth (don’t worry, still store-bought), creating a marvelously close-tasting broth to the ones that take hours, all in just 2 minutes.  From this point on, all it needs is a mandatory fine-tuning of lemon juice, sliced onion and fresh herbs to bring it quintessentially Vietnamese.  Then, a couple squirts of Sriracha and hoisin sauce to make it non again.

Here you ask, is this the same as the pho bo you tasted in Saigon where you lost a tender piece of your soul behind and was left to wonder this earth forever incomplete?  Pffff, of course not!  A cheat is a cheat.  Anyone who’s tried liposuction will tell you they don’t look like Gisele Bündchen quite yet.  But I will say this, that in between all the sad Vietnamese restaurants provided by the cities where I’ve stayed in the past almost two decades – New York, Taipei, Hong Kong, Beijing – or the alternative of plowing through 12 hours of labor whenever the craving hits, honestly, I prefer this instant mix over any of the above.  And if you know me at all, that’s saying a lot.  

 

FOR ALL THE GEOGRAPHICALLY MISPLACED AND PHYSICALLY UNABLE FOODIES, WHO MAKE THE REGRETTABLE  MISTAKE OF WATCHING A VIETNAM STREET-FOOD VIDEO ON YOUTUBE PASS 10 PM

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SUMMER PHO BO ROLL

In the walk of a cook who fancies herself a genius, there is no pain more excruciating than to realize when someone else has out-genius her.  If you were one of “her” (not saying that I am)(I mean genius?  Who?  Me?), careful, because this is gonna hurt.

This guy, Tyler Kord, who wrote this book, A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches, is really pissing me off.

Okay, fine, go have a super successful and ever-expanding sandwich shop all over New York City as if that was a dream of mine or whaaaatever.  Dream-stealer….  And then sure, why not, go publish a refreshingly hilarious and strivingly honest cookbook that touches subjects beyond the otherwise self-absorbing stand-alone topic of foods, as if that was my personal 2014 2015 2016 resolution that is wilting faster than baby spinach in a hot skillet.  Face-rubber….  But I don’t care, see, don’t care!  But above all of his dream-stealing and face-rubbing behavior, which I have generously forgiven and let go, none has made me scream more in agony when I saw this recipe on page 168…

Pho mayo.

I’ll spare you the whole pretense of “I couldn’t imagine what it would taste like until I put a spoon in my mouth…blah blah blah blah blah”.  Truth was, the minute I read through the recipe, I knew it would work.  The combination of flavors and seasoning just made sense, guaranteeing, even just on paper, a creamy concoction that would embody all the magical essence of a bowl of pho.  Pho, in mayo form.  This realization sent my body into a self-strangling twist on my stone-cold kitchen floor, thinking, no, bleeding from the eternal question that haunts all mankind – Why, why wasn’t I the one who come up with this?

But I wasn’t.  So that’s that.  And by the way, this fabulous creation of what I call Summer Pho Bo Roll, is not in his book.  Yeah, I took his pho mayo… used it to generously coat a truck-load of thinly sliced beef short ribs, bean sprouts and finely chopped Thai basil, then stuffed them into a hoisin sauce -smeared potato roll, topped with chopped onions and a revengeful squeeze of Sriracha sauce.  It’s like eating a bowl of pho bo (by the way, the word “pho” on its own just means “rice noodle”.  Pho bo (bo means beef) is what you are actually referring to), but no cooking!  And it’s summer-friendly!

Dat’s right, Tyler, I stole your pho mayo.  Now you know what it’s like to be hurt.

I’M REALLY MORE LIKE ACHILLES IN THAT… I CAN MAKE MAYONNAISE BEND TO MY WILL USING ONLY MY MIND BECAUSE ACHILLES COULD DO THAT.  HOMER DOESN’T REALLY GET INTO IT THOUGH.

– TYLER KORD

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VIETNAMESE Chả Cá FISH TACO

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WE FOUND OUR WEAKENED FOOTSTEPS AT ITS TURQUOISE COLORED DOORWAY

THE official statement is, that like all other celebratory spirits who paint golden eggs on Easter, play Frank Sinatra on X’mas and wash their faces with Buffalo wings on Superbowl, we the family of forever-festivity, ate tacos on Cinco de Mayo and danced to a whirlpool of margaritas this past Sunday.

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Vietnam-has-best-Coffee Pudding

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* Information revised.

What’s the one picture you put on facebook that attracted the most attention? If I ever cared (and who cares…?), it would be that one innocent shot I took in Paris with my two lovely morning-cups of venti Starbucks sitting leisurely on the bridge minding their own business, while they read 75 hilarious coffee memes. Yup. Not any of these painstakingly-orchestrated-to-appear-unorchestratedly-beautiful shots of my humble creations (Guys guys look! Sauce is reacting to GRAVITY on my donuts!). Neither are shots of my unpretentiously handsome dogs keeping it real in their typical unorderly formation (Totally unlike any of the ones on pinterest whom I suspect are wax-models, because mine are totally NATURAL). And sadly with reasonable doubt, probably not even a bikini shot of myself could surpass (Guy. Half-nakedness here~ Somebody’s half-NAAAKED!)(… scroll right through it. Nice).

But. It was the venti Starbucks in Paris.

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Soup From Yunnan

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Oh there she goes again… trying to answer the question that nobody is asking. Beef stew from Yunnan? Anybody? (zeeeeeeeeee…) Believe me… I really struggled about posting this you know. The more conforming side of me who knows better wanted to kiss it on the forehead and lovingly bury it six feet under the ever-growing queue of recipes, resting peacefully inside WordPress’s cyber data-tomb. The curry fish head? The chili braised tofu? Com’on… blogs are all about traffics (snap fingers)! Followers (Snap)! Cookies (snaP)! and CAKES (SNAP)!! Nobody’s interested in exotic affairs with the far east especially shortly following that temporary insanity fermented tofu thing… But really guys, I tried.  As I fed myself this soup, it became clearer and clearer with each spoonful that it would just be TOO WRONG to keep it away from you, traffic-tank or not. Oh selfless me.

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