Archive for May, 2011

Mekong Rest Stop

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

As I previously mentioned, one of the dangers with joining a pre-arranged tour for your holiday is that you don’t get to pick where you eat.  Usually, restaurants that offer the tour operator the best margin and can have the food ready as soon as you sit down are favoured.  No regard to authenticity or enjoyment of the tourists.  This was the case for many of the places we ate at in Vietnam.  But every so often, we were stunned and delighted to be taken somewhere superb.  Not just clean – but posh, not just yummy, but AMAZING, and not just satisfying but also innovative too!  Mekong Rest Stop is such establishment.  We were on our way back to Ho Chi Minh City when we pulled up at this complex in the middle of nowhere (Well, we had all fallen asleep by then).  We were taken to a beautiful garden, where we were seated at an outdoor pagoda, and seated in a room that had no more than 5 tables in it.  The furniture was antique, and the only thing that was missing was a fan – it was stinking hot!  But our stickiness was alleviated by the cool sugar cane drinks (US$2.50 each, which is considered expensive in Vietnam!!); and forgotten as our pre-ordered menu was delivered to us.  First up, for entrees, we were given mini vietnamese pancakes.  Crisp tumeric infused discs with a prawn, bean sprouts and pork; served with nam chuoc sauce; and the Hanoi Crisp parcels – fried spring rolls which are made with a delicate net style pastry.

Next up, individual beef noodle soups.  As you can see here, what we have as “pho” in Australia is sooo much better because it’s made in beef stock. Whereas in Vietnam most of the time we got it in MSG style soup :( No meaty flavour at all. :(   Unless what we have in Australia is westernised??

Things were looking good! And then along came this BALL!!  What was this fried perfectly rounded thing?? 


Osso Buco with Saffron Rice

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Winter – perfect for long slow stews. This recipe comes from Australian Gourmet Traveller. The sauce is very rich. It is pretty much just white wine and tomatoes! The saffron adds a luxurious touch to the melt in your mouth braised meat. It’s fantastic as you prepare it, whack it in the oven and then forget about it for a couple hours whilst you enjoy your guests’ company rather than slaving away in the kitchen and letting them have all the fun!

Apparently it’s a recipe from a Melbourne restaurant called Massani. It’s in the section of Gourmet Traveller where readers write in asking for recipes from their favourite restaurants.   Here’s the link:

XO Sauce fried rice noodles

Monday, May 9th, 2011

On our recent trip to Hong Kong, one new yum cha dish that we tried and adored was XO sauce fried rice noodles. Soooo simple to make, especially since XO sauce is so readily available now – even at Coles! By no means a low fat dish, but it’s just 4 ingredients! Firstly, buy a packet of those rolled rice noodles from your local asian grocer. I actually even saw them at Harris Farm too. Cut them into chunks. Then, heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok, then add the noodles and toss around until crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle. Then, add one tablespoon of XO sauce, stir fry until fragrant, and then a splash of light soy sauce. If you have some, add some chopped shallots until wilted. Take off the heat, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve. Eat alone. Do not share! hehehe :)  Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner – or all of them! :)

Masterchef has STARTED!! :)

Monday, May 9th, 2011

OK, oracles, place your predictions here for your guess of who’ll make it top 2! And second question – who you WANT to win it!   Here’s mine:  I’m gonna say Billy Law for sure in the top 2 – what final would be complete without a foodie Asian? :)  Go Poh and Adam! :)    I’m gonna say Adam Bowen too, and Hayden as contenders.  Go on, what’s your guess? :)