Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / Vietnam

Last Monday I took a day off to take advantage of the Tuesday holiday for a pro-longed weekends (man I can get used of that 3 day work week) and attended a cooking demo at Le Meridien KL.

It was part of the “Experience Vietnam” promotion at Latest Recipe that runs from 16-22 May, 2011. Three chefs from Sheraton Saigon  – Chef Tran Cong Tien, Chef Nguyen Thi Duy and Chef Bui Van Tien Dong flew all the way here to KL to infuse the restaurant with some true blue (or red?) Vietnamese cuisine, and of course, to share a few recipe with us.

vietnamese girls serving spring roll
yes, these are real Vietnamese ladies too.

I’ve always been a fan of Vietnamese food ever since the university days in the States, and having traveled to Saigon for 9 times over the last 7-8 years or so, this brand of South East Asian cuisine isn’t exactly very foreign for me.

Yet, this is the first time I learn how to make a real Vietnamese Sping roll. It turned out to be really simple, you can source all the ingredients locally and make yourself some authentic Vietnamese spring rolls too!

making a vietnamese spring roll
making a vietnamese spring roll

Here’s the ingredients to make 20 spring rolls:

  • 20 pieces of rice papers
  • 80 grams of lettuce
  • 25 grams of your favourite Vietnamese herbs (basil and chives usually)
  • 70 grams of carrot, sliced in strips
  • 200 grams of fresh rice vermicelli (they use the thick version, i think mee hun might work too?)
  • 20 pieces of blanched prawns, peeled & halved

Then the ingredients for dipping sauce

  • 50 grams of tamarind pulp
  • 50 ml of hot water
  • 40 grams of dried mung bean
  • 60 ml of tepid water
  • 200 grams of preserved soya bean
  • 50 ml of corn oil (or any cooking oil)
  • 10 grams of chopped garlic
  • 60 grams of sugar

we got our hands dirty, and our cooking skills upgraded :D
Kim and I got our hands dirty, and our cooking skills upgraded :D

The steps in making the Vietnamese spring roll is surprisingly easy:

  • wet the rice paper on one side with hand, but careful not to drench it
  • apply a piece of lettuce, then 2 basil leaves, a few strips of carrot, then some noodle
  • next fold the rice paper from both sides, then roll up from bottom until you just cover the ingredients
  • at this point put 2 pieces of shrimp on top, a piece of chives, and continue to roll the spring roll till complete

The last step separated out for mainly aesthetic purposes, so you can clearly see the shrimps through the translucent rice paper. Brilliant, I always wonder how they made it that way. Now I know. :D

chef Tran Cong Tien and team making Bo La Lot
chef Tran Cong Tien and team making Bo La Lot (beef in fragrant leaves)

While you can consume the spring roll as is, they are best served with the soya bean dipping sauce, and here’s how you make them:

  • Stir in tamarind pulp in 50 ml of hot water, then strain through a fine sieve and set aside.
  • Steam the mung beans with 60 ml of water for about 20 minutes then blend together with the steaming water to form smooth paste. Set aside.
  • Blend the soya bean into a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • Next, heat up the oil in a pan, sautee the garlics till golden and throw in tamarind pulp paste, mung beans paste and soya bean paste. Stir till combined.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes till mixture thickens.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool down before storing in fridge. This dipping sauce can be kept for up to a week

Cheo Troai Noouc (the dessert), Haze, Chef Antoine, Ciki
Cheo Troai Noouc (the dessert), Haze, Chef Antoine, Ciki

The good chefs from Vietnam also taught us how to make one of the most iconic Vietnamese food – Bo La Lot (grilled beef in fragrant leaves), and the dessert by the name of Cheo Troai Noouc (sticky rice dumpling with green bean filling and ginger syrup). I didn’t get a chance to try how to make those, but perhaps one day!

map to Le Meridien at KL Sentral

Address:
Le Meridien
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur 50470

GPS: 3.135631,101.686476
Tel: 03-2263 7888

On an unrelated note, there’s a great deal over at MilkADeal that shouldn’t be missed! Xiao Fei Yang steamboat for RM 40 instead of RM 107.80 and good for 4 pax to enjoy!

xiao fei yang at MilkADeal

The deal includes a dry pot of fish ball, pork intestines, deep fried pig skin, pig stomach, fried fish maw, foo chuk, vegetables + 4 boiled rice. You can check out my review of Xiao Fei Yang at the Pudu branch. This deal is for their newer Damansara Utama branch. Head over to check out the deal and grab it before it expires on midnight of 25 May, 2011!

Address:
No:40G & 42G, Jalan SS21/62,
Damansara Utama, Kuala Lumpur

Melbourne city is populated with a huge population of Asian, and as many other Western countries, a decent portion of those Asians are Vietnamese for obvious reasons if you’ve ever watched Nam: Tour of Duty (which also has the awesome title song – Paint it Black).

While Victoria Street north of Richmond, some 2km away from Central Business District has the most Vietnamese restaurants, there are quite a number of them right at the city center too, and none can be more famous than Mekong Vietnam at Swanston in CBD. I just had to go there since Mell was raving about it ever since I knew her.


so Bill Clinton had 2 bowls, I had one.

The restaurant is like many typical Asian outfits, with almost no effort spent in interior decoration, just lines of tables and chairs to maximize the number of patrons at any one time.

The one distinction at Mekong are the walls. Instead of low grade artworks, they have photos. Photos of many famous people who dined here, including Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and even Bill Clinton (the restaurant claims that the President had two bowls of pho)


there’s always free water or tea at restaurants

The menu is typical of many Vietnamese restaurants, with pho (rice noodle soup), cold spring rolls, hot spring rolls, rice, vermicelli, some sides, and drinks. The pho dishes are priced at $8 and $9 (big) while the most expensive vermicelli dishes (those with spring rolls and meat) at $11.50.


pho with beef and plenty of tendon, yums

As usual, I ordered a bowl of Pho with tendon, tripe, and brisket while Mell got the version with raw slice beef. We also had some free hot tea to go with the noodles, I love the fact that almost all restaurants will serve you either tea or water for free around here.

The soup was pretty mild at Mekong and the pho used was actually just the normal “kueh teow” type instead of the more traditional Vietnamese noodle that is slightly harder in texture. However, the tendon, tripe, and the meat were all very tender and juicy. The overall taste was actually rather good, especially after asking the server for more basil (as I usually do anywhere outside Vietnam).


we certainly enjoyed our pho

It was actually a very satisfying meal, warm soupy dishes with cold weather always go very well together. $18 for 2 person is also pretty cheap for a meal in the city short of fast food joints.


Mekong is just a block off QV and Melbourne Central

Address:
Mekong
241 Swanston St,
Melbourne VIC 3000

GPS: -37.812157,144.964921
Tel: 03 9663 3288

hawker paddling on the streets of ho chi minh city, vietnam

Updates will be sparse these few days as I am traveling on assignment at Ho Chi Minh City again. This time around I surely will try more interesting food. So far I’ve tried fried bee larva (will post on that soon), lets see what I manage to get in the next few days!

Stim.

The reason this blog hasn’t been updated for the past few days is a sound one. I was at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam again, and the hotel wanted to charge something like US $17 per day for internet access, I guess I could live without going online for a few days. I had the chance to walk around the city a bit and take a few pictures from the street.

vietnam, ho chi minh city
not going to school

There are still many under privileged children in this city, selling various items such as chewing gums, or like in this case, providing a shoe shining service.

ho chi minh city, vietnam
buy from me?

This lady kept asking me to buy a coconut from her. I had no idea how much one would cost, and she doesn’t speak English either.

ho chi minh city, vietnam
i want a bike

It seems like this guy, who appears to be a rat trapper, would very much love to be able to own a motorbike one day. Ho Chi Minh City has a very high concentration of motorbikes, pretty much like Penang in the 80s, except maybe 5x as busy.

ho chi minh city, vietnam
breakfast?

A white lady is trying to figure out what’s for breakfast. I guess it wasn’t too attractive as she just walked past the mobile restaurant. You can find these sort of hawkers all over HCMC.

Just before heading to SGN airport coming back to Malaysia during the last trip at HCMC, I decided to have some Japanese food instead of traditional Vietnamese Food. Instead of catching a cab, I just started to walk down the busy Hai Ba Trung Street to check out the numerous Japanese restaurant around the city.

Angler Fish Liver, Akatonbo Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Angler Fish Liver and Sashimi

After passing a handful of Japanese restaurants that are either too expensive or offering only a limited menu, I decided to go into Akatonbo as the menu displayed outside the door looks enticing, and reasonably priced as well.

After scanning through the rather extensive menu, I ordered a sashimi set and a serving of ankimo (Angler fish liver).

Angler Fish Liver, Akatonbo Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
very extensive menu

The sashimi, consisting of salmon, tuna, squid, octopus tentacles, and two other types of fish, were very fresh and properly cut. Though the serving was somewhat small and rice were not included, it was still pretty good. The Angler fish liver, though, was quite interesting. I had actually wanted to order it at Zen sushi at Subang Jaya once but it was a seasonal offering and they had run out of it, so this was actually the first time I tasted this Japanese delicacy. The texture of the liver is similar to pickled tofu, but slightly tougher, it has a rich and fatty taste to it, often described to be similar to foie gras. It was really good, and served exactly like how it’s meant to.

More on Ankimo:

The liver is first rubbed with salt, then rinsed with sake. Then its veins are picked out and the liver is rolled into a cylinder and steamed. Ankimo is often served with chili-tinted grated daikon radish, thinly sliced green onions and ponzu sauce.

Angler Fish Liver, Akatonbo Restaurant, map of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Akatonbo restaurant is at the heart of District 1, HCMC

The total damage was less than $14 USD (less than RM 50). Pretty good value for the interesting Ankimo and the good quality sashmi. Yogurt is served after the meal too, a pretty good concept that no Japanese restaurants in Malaysia that I am aware of follows.

Address:
38 Hai Ba Trung Street,
District 1, HCMC, Vietnam

Tel:8-244-928