Tag Archives: vietnamese

Backlog of food photos + Bento 39

28 Jun

I haven’t been motivated to write up a post for you all even though I have been taking pictures and all. Now that the weekend is over, I have no excuse to clear out the pictures that have been queuing up on my desktop.

Let’s start off with a bento I made last week. I only have access to two bento boxes (this one and a lock n lock) so they are a little bland in color. I’ll have to try to make more color foods.

bento 39

This bento has cut up homemade peanut zong zi, pork gyoza, and homemade pickled carrots from a previous CSA share. Our newest CSA share didn’t have carrots but had lots of other yummy stuff.

CSA share 5, click for notes

Week 5’s box had (going clockwise from left):
purple cocktail onions – fancy
green butter lettuce
huge bunch of Italian basil – eeks! no food processor/blender to make pesto!
mei quin choi – yay! Chinese veggies! so fresh and good.
gem lettuce (i think..or romaine)
strawberries
romanesco broccoli – tasted like cauliflower!
red norland potatoes
green beans

We ate out a few times even though we had so much food at home. I was really tired of cooking and all the leftovers were getting old so we ignored them and ended up throwing out a bunch of stuff last night. =( I hate wasting food.I need to learn to not buy so much and not cook so much because we only have two people to eat it all (versus 4-5 in my family).

On Friday night we went to Hotaru in downtown San Mateo. The Wine Walk event was occurring where streets were closed off for wine tasting booths on the street and in the stores downtown. It was lively with people enjoying live music, hor douvrs, and local wine. We walked around that for a bit before having dinner.

udon combo 1

Brian got the udon combo with grilled mackerel and California roll. I tried chirashi for the first time. I loved it! The fish here is really fresh and had a lot of flavor. There was also shrimp, octopus, squid, and sweetened egg along with tuna, salmon, and two types of white fish I couldn’t identify.

chirashi regular

For Sunday lunch we went to Saigon City in San Mateo. It was one of the hottest weekends of the summer though it was nothing compared to how hot and humid New York gets. We wanted non-hot food so we ordered banh mi. I got the ham and he got pork. They were really good. The bread was soft yet still had a nice chew unlike most Vietnamese sandwiches that are really chewy. My ham sandwich had two types of ham and pate. The pork was tender, flavorful and grilled nicely (not burnt). Both sandwiches were great with hot sauce.

ham banh mi

pork banh mi

Check out my next post for what we did on Saturday, there will be lots of pictures!

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Day 1 in California

25 May

We landed in SFO yesterday. The international airport there is much nicer than JFK. We always fly Virgin America which lands in the international section of the airport. I highly recommend Virgin America, the planes interiors are much nicer than other comparative low-priced airlines. I sat in the middle seat this time which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. If I had a choice, I always pick an aisle seat. I’m mildly claustrophobic and also hate disturbing strangers if I need to use the restroom.

Brian’s apartment is in San Mateo and the complex is really nice. His windows face three gorgeous palm trees, a citrus fruit tree (not sure what type) and another unknown fruit tree that feeds birds. If you know what the fruit are, let me know if it tastes good!

There are lots of squirrels too including the aggressive black squirrels. They like to chase each other up and down the palm trees, spiraling around to avoid each other.

there are 2 squirrels here

Since Brian’s apartment is really close to downtown San Mateo, there are tons of restaurants to sample from. There’s a high concentration of Japanese restaurants in particular. I estimated around 15 Japanese restaurants the last time I was here, which is a huge number considering how small downtown actually is.

While I’m going to try to cook as much as possible to save money and eat healthier, we also like to eat out. It takes a lot of planning to cook in Brian’s kitchen since it’s not well stocked so sometimes we’re too lazy to cook, especially since there are so many affordable restaurants to pick from. So you can expect a lot of posts about restaurants!

For lunch on day 1, we ate at Old Town Sushi in downtown San Mateo. It was the cheapest Japanese restaurant I’ve been to and even though it’s run by Chinese people, the food was good.

We ordered the Shioyaki bento box and the Number One roll to share.

shioyaki with shrimp and veggie tempura

The shioyaki was done very nicely with crispy skin. The shrimp tempura wasn’t that great, the only good tempura were the sweet potato and kobucha pumpkin. It also came with salad, rice and 3 pieces of California roll (didn’t like). See here for full picture.

Number One roll

The Number One roll was really tasty for a super-sized American style sushi roll. The roll consisted of shrimp, avocado, crab salad inside with half salmon and half tuna on top and covered in more crab salad, scallions, black sesame and a mild hot sauce. While it was good, we ended up not eating most of the crab salad on top. I think it’s the same crab they use in the California rolls, which I didn’t like. They also gave us a free bowl of edamame once we sat down along with rice green tea.

miso soup came with the bento box

Brian went back to work and I did some shopping. I went to the thrift store and got hangers and a small ironing board for $5 total. After work, we went grocery shopping at an awesome Asian supermarket called Ranch 99. $30 worth of groceries earned us $3 for their hot deli section so we got the most delicious loaf red bean swirl Taiwanese bread. Yum, the perfect breakfast.

For dinner we ate in Mountain View because Brian is cat-sitting three adorable cats for a friend. We also got a hot roasted oolong milk bubble tea at Tea Era. I have lots of pics but don’t want to bombard this post so I’ll try to post more later if we go back. Dinner was at Pho Garden, home of the pho challenge.

There were so many people attempting the pho challenge, which was to finish 2 lbs of noodles and 2 lbs of beef in one hour (don’t need to finish soup). If they win, they get to keep the giant bowl and a t-shirt, if they lose, they get the t-shirt. You could also order that dish for multiple people to share but you don’t win anything if you finish. I totally think my brother would try this if he were here. I sneaked a picture of these guys who were just starting. Look here for a picture of them signing the contract (several pages long).

pho challenge

I had the Garlic Noodles with Five Spice Chicken. The chicken was great! The noodles were coated in garlic powder.. I was not expecting that. I would have preferred real garlic or some kind of garlic sauce.

5 spice chicken garlic noodles

Brian got the Beef Pho. It’s very important that the soup broth is tasty and this one was. I saved the leftover sprouts and Thai basil to make some summer rolls later. My excuse: the basil and sprouts were sold in huge packs at the supermarket! ^_^

beef pho

We’re having leftovers for lunch and going to Amanda’s home for a family dinner today. I made sai mai lo so I’ll post that tomorrow if I remember to take pictures. Thanks for reading!

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

2 May

We had Vietnamese banh mi for dinner last night which led me to crave Vietnamese summer rolls. The rolls were perfect for today because it was 85 degrees! A light lunch or appetizer, these rolls are refreshing and satisfying to eat. Low in fat and customizable to what crispy veggies you have in the fridge. You can even make these vegetarian by subbing in mushrooms or marinated tofu. A dipping sauce is a must since these rolls depend only on its ingredients for flavor.

Yummy summer roll innards.

What you need:
Rice paper rounds (found in dry noodle aisle of Asian supermarket)
Large dish of warm water to dip rice paper rounds

Filling: (at room temperature or chilled)
– rice stick noodles, cooked, rinsed under cold water and drained
– cucumber cut into sticks (mandolin helps)
– carrot cut into sticks
– mung bean sprouts
– fresh Asian (Thai) basil, chopped
– shrimp, shelled, deveined, boiled and sliced in half
– jalapenos, sliced (optional)

PB Dipping Sauce: (approximates)
– 3 Tbsp peanut butter (I used chunky)
– 1 tsp vinegar (I used rice)
– 1/2 tsp fish sauce (strong! may want to start with less)
– 1 tsp hoisin sauce
– 1/4 tsp sirracha sauce
– 1/2 tsp sugar
– 1 tsp sesame oil
– water to thin

1. Dip rice paper rounds into dish of warm water for ~30 seconds and moisten both sides. Paper may still be stiff when you start filling but should be soften by the time you roll. If you dip for too long, it will rip. You’ll get a better feel for it as you go.

2. Lay moisten rice paper on flat surface. Place shrimp cut side up horizontally at center of round and lay other fillings on top as desired, ending with rice noodle. Fold up bottom flap. Fold in side flaps. Roll like a burrito.

3. Slice diagonally and serve with dipping sauce. To make dipping sauce, mix all ingredients until smooth. Leftovers should be wrapped with plastic wrap.

tasty shrimp with fresh veggies