Vibrant Vietnamese Victuals

Last Thursday we squeezed this months Secret-Secret Geography Club in before September ended. We came in just under the wire and it's a good thing because I was craving Vietnamese so badly. When Steve and I go to Vietnamese restaurants our favorite thing to order is the Vermicelli bowls (bun) with charbroiled pork or lemongrass chicken and crispy spring rolls. I've made a killer version of this at home and knew it would taste amazing if I brought it, but I really wanted to make something we had never had before. This group is all about trying new things right?

Here we are staring at our empty plates, waiting impatiently while Dan puts the finishing touches on his Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup). There was siracha, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, limes, bean sprouts, mint and basil on the table so we could all dress up our own soup bowls.

Pho is something I've always wanted to try but never get up the courage to make myself since there is cinnamon and star anise in the broth...I have a strong aversion to cinnamon in savory dishes and pretty much never like the licorice flavor of anise. It was nice to be able to try it finally, and I really did like it. The broth has a really interesting flavor. Unfortunately, I ruined mine slightly by following Steve's lead and put WAY too much siracha hot sauce in my soup. I didn't know! I just watched him squirt a ton on, I followed suit and just as I did Dan yelled "NOOOOOOO!" I innocently looked up at him "what?" He was like "Do you have any idea how hot that is?" I thought I knew...but apparently I didn't. So I had a bowl of burninator-your-tongue soup.

Luckily we had other Vietnamese fare to eat, including this Pomello Salad that Lindsey brought. It was quite soothing on my poor tongue. Pomello's are similar to grapefruit but much sweeter. Here in Canada you can't really get the true taste of them, since they are actually quite sweet and Canada we usually get dry bitter ones. Lindsey got lucky and found one of the sweetest, juiciest pomello's I've ever had. It still had some sharp sour undertones like a grapefruit in it, which was really nice. There was also shredded carrot and cucumber, shrimp and peanuts. Interesting or what? The dressing was Nuoc Mam which is the fish sauce, chili, sugar, lime combination that you usually pour over a vermicelli bowl at a Vietnamese restaurant. I really loved the flavor of this...everything balanced nicely and my favorite was the crunch of the salty peanuts.

Dan also graced us with these delicious Lemongrass Pork skewers.
As everyone was dishing up their food, I was in the kitchen assembling my dish...I could hear everyone taking bites and saying "Kindra you better get in here! These are SOOOOO good and you might not get any if you don't hurry!" They weren't kidding. These were phenomenal. I originally only grabbed one skewer, but as I saw the plate quickly dwindle and I watched as my husband reached for his fourth and fifth skewer I pounced on the last one before he could. He looked at me like "awww...won't you share?" But HECK NO! He already had 5!! I didn't feel sorry for him and I savored every bite as I enjoyed the last skewer. (I'm so mean ;)

Then came my Banh Mi Thit Heo Nuong (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Sandwiches). I've never tried them before, but as I searched for recipes I discovered they were popular Vietnamese fare. Everyone absolutely loved them! Including me. Wow they were good. I marinated the pork overnight, as well as made my own pickled carrots and daikon. I didn't add the traditional ingredient of chicken liver pate, but I assumed no one would miss it ;) Lisa and Lindsey had had these sandwiches before quite a bit and both exclaimed that mine was just as good or better. Yesssssss!

I forgot to get a picture of it, but for dessert we washed down our meal with a Vietnamese Iced Coffee. Have you experienced the delicious sweetness of a Vietnamese Coffee before?? Oh you must! Strong French roast coffee drips slowly into a small glass, while you have a separate glass filled with ice and a good helping of sweetened condensed milk. When the coffee has finished dripping you pour it over the ice and stir. Most of the ice melts as does the sweetened condensed milk and you are left with a refreshingly sweet coffee delight. Oh my they are my favorite.

I'd venture out on a limb and say that Vietnamese night was success. I know I'll definitely be making those Vietnamese Sandwiches again, as well as Dan's Lemongrass Skewers. There were no games this time to decide next month's country...just a lot of discussion and persuasion. We finally settled on Germany. Hmm...viener schitzel anyone? Ya dat is good. I told everyone I am up for it, as long as everyone promises to stay far away from saurkraut! Dan was trying to convince me that it's actually good, and if I didn't like it before it was probably made wrong. I have a sneaky suspicion he's going to prepare something with saurkraut just to prove to me it's good...I would greatly appreciate if he didn't :) My Dad used to make Pork Hocks (pigs ankles) in Saurkraut growing up and it was one of the meals he made that I actually despised. We were forced to eat it, and I gagged down every saurkrautey bite. So Dan and his saurkraut can go join another food club next month!


Mrs. Querido said...

Oh gross! That is like the time that we were in Mexico visiting my husband's family and they made posole de puerco...posole with pig's feet. I passed on that!

Kindra said...

The funny thing is the pigs ankles weren't actually bad! They just soaked up all the vinegary saurkraut flavor and that's what made them taste awful to me. *shudders*

LZF said...

Mmmm. The Vietnamese subs were my favorite food of any Secret-Secret ever! (Excluding desserts.)

Kindra aka "The Meal Planner" said...

I didn't know those sandwiches were your favourite ever! I totally forgot about these, and never think to make them. They were ridiculously good though.

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