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Wednesday Food: Gòi Gà and The End of the World

Let me first apologize for last week’s absence– my only internet access was  on a mobile device and that does not a blog post make!

This week I took a stab at Vietnamese cuisine.  My first discovery was the relative difficulty of finding online resources for Vietnamese food specifically (not pan-Asian or Southeast Asian.)  Mostly you have to settle for pan-Asian blogs that do a good job of specifying origin.  I liked Stickyrice, which is set in the capital Hanoi and addresses street food culture along with recipes; White on Rice Couple is more broad but the posts are accompanied by striking, clean photography; and EatingAsia is even more broad but reliable in tagging regions in their posts.

With leftover roast chicken I investigated what other ingredients I could incorporate to produce an authentic dish.  I settled on Gòi Gà– Vietnamese chicken and cabbage salad– which utilizes typically Vietnamese ingredients.  So what sets it apart from other Asian foods?  Fish sauce (usually made from anchovy concentrate) and sea critters in general; local plant life: bamboo, melon, ginger to name just a few; and the presentation of a full color spectrum– which makes the food so beautiful and animated in pictures.  Finally, a substantial portion of fresh herbs is always used. Herbs are to Vietnamese food as spices are to Indian food.  The great freshness of flavor comes from lemongrass, mint, Vietnamese coriander (rau ram), multiple basil varieties, and perilla.

The recipe I used from White on Rice also listed garlic, peanuts, and pickled onions.  I loved the layers of texture in the salad, the colors were rapturous, and the flavors were fresh.  I confess to not loving fish sauce, as it has more of a “fishy” taste and smell than fresh anchovies.

With such bright and unprocessed ingredients a beer that is crisp and fruity will do you right, and because the flavors are bold and spicy the food can handle a med-high abv.  I liked La Fin du Monde from Unibroue because the taste of coriander was emboldened by the salad and the beer’s effervesce was so refreshing.

Does anyone have better resources for Southeast Asian recipes?

March 2, 2011 - Posted by | Wednesday Food

1 Comment

  1. I don’t know about “better”, but Maangchi seems awesome. I really like that easy kimchi video (I can’t say “recipe”, as I’ve never tried to make it, I just like the video).

    Comment by ben | March 2, 2011

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