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Ok, I give up, fried oysters

Potato Starch.

Sep 05, 2014
anthonyrza in Home Cooking

NYC coming to SF

Definitely need to get yourself some tacos, as basic as that sounds. Tacos to the bay area are like pizza slices to NYC- quick, cheap, foldable, eaten with one hand, cheap and extremely satisfying. I love the street style tacos at Vallarta Taqueria, where all the meats are happily bubbling away at the taco bar (open till 3am on weekends). 24th and treat. Barbacoa, suadero, chorizo, tripitas...

One day in SF and want to go to an amazing taqueria!!

I wasn't impressed when I sampled the Al Pastor at San Jose- dude didn't even slice it off the spit. I prefer El Farolito's version- more char. Taqueria La Cumbre for Carne Asada. The Carnitas at La Taqueria is generous and GOOD- but nothing spectacular. El Gallo Giro for Carnitas...or cross the bay bridge to Guadalajara or Tacos el gordo.

The 2nd 2011 CHOW Challenge

Mar 02, 2011
anthonyrza in Home Cooking

Rosemary focaccia panini with breaded chicken breast, ‘rau răm’ mayonnaise, chorizo and Jarlsberg cheese.

Mar 02, 2011
anthonyrza in Recipes

Pork and Pâté Vietnamese Sandwich (Banh Mi)

This belief that Vietnamese baguettes are being made with rice flour is sort of interesting. I'd like to see some concrete backing on this claim. During my 2+ years living in Vietnam I ate myself a bánh mì or two and usually asked about every ingredient they put inside the sandwich- on multiple occasions. Most people told me they only use wheat flour in the baguettes, the reason they are lighter than french style baguettes is amount of baking soda used. They said rice flour doesn't make a good baguette. Everyone has their own opinion I guess. So whiel some bakeries might use rice flour, it looks like there's more than one way to achieve the desired light and crispy texture. B.T.W. the central coast of Việt Nam from Cam Ranh up through Hội An is where the best bánh mì can be had.

Mar 02, 2011
anthonyrza in Recipes

Vietnam Recommendations -- need help in multiple cities

couldn't agree more. Just sniff around! Don't go to Pho 2000! Eat Com Suon Nuong!!

Bangkok - Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City

Thailand does great stir-fries. Try Pad Siew, Pad Ga Pra Muu or anything really. Cambodia is pretty decent, with influences from it's neighboring countries as well as China but can't compare with the other two countries you'll be visiting. In Ho Chi Minh it's really all about the street. Stay outdoors and you'll do fine. Sample everything. Cheap as biscuits. Check out some of the dishes I've eaten in my 2+ years in Sai Gon to give you an idea--> Let me know if you'd like the names of specific restaurants (Vietnamese or Western) in Ho Chi Minh as well. You're probably already in Nam huh?

Bangkok and southern Thailand island-hopping

Koh Samui has a bunch of shitty tourist restaurants but hit the market near Chaweng beach for some local snacks. There's a good rice spot there. If you get a chance to stop in Trang (southern Thailand) they do great grub on the nickel. Wherever you are, be sure to get yourself a brekkie Pad Ga Prao Moo [spicy ground pork with holy basil & and fried egg over rice]. Superb!!

Ho Ch Minh City,Hanoi, Hoi An, Luang Prabang and Ventianne

For something different in Ho Chi Minh, try out Quan Tri Ky (236k Le Van Sy, Q. TB). Just a 10-15 minute taxi outside the city center, but great grub. They specialize in 'de nuong' which is marinated goat slices that you grill at your table. Pick and choose a little of this or that, and chase with Sai Gon beer. Grub on some 'so diep nuong mo hanh' (grilled scallops with fat drenched scallions) or 'canh ga chien nuoc mam' (Viet. style fried chicken wings).

In the downtown area, XU restaurant on Hai Ba Trung street does fancied up food with Vietnamese ingredients, up the street at K-Cafe for sushi, Reflections in Caravelle hotel for euro/asian, Black Cat for burgers..

Hoi An is just choke full of touristy restaurants serving the exact same thing. Can't help you there.

[Vietnam] Hoi An or Hue?

HUE! Eat the com hen right on the river, there's a few casual restaurants serving up bowls for 5.000VND. Fantastic!!

Also try some Mi Quang will in the central provinces.

Current favority hawker center/street vendor/restaurant dishes in Southeast Asia

Sate Kambing (goat satay) with cubes of goat fat sold from a streetside bbq - Bali, INDONESIA

Char Kway Teow, Roti Canai - Penang, MALAYSIA. Everything is insanely delicious here.

Pork Sisig - Chopped pork cheeks and ears mixed with onions then scorched on a cast iron plate until crispy. PHILIPPINES

Khao Soi - Northern THAILAND spicy chicken soup for about 70 cents.

Com Suon Nuong - Charcoal grilled caramelized pork chops served with a fried egg, rice and nuoc mam (fish sauce). Amazing. VIETNAM.

Hen Xao Suc Banh Da - Stir-fried spicy baby mussels with lemongrass and peanuts. Eat with toasted rice crackers. VIETNAM.

Christmas in Bali

Try the Balinese Tapas at Nomad restaurant. Good way to sample a little bit of everything. Tons of good places to eat there.

eating my way around southeast asia

and if by chance "pho cok" is Phu Quoc island in Vietnam, steer clear of most of the beachfront hotels/restaurants. The main city of Duong Dong has some great eats. Check out the market by the bridge early in the morning. Tons of fish. La Miranda has pretty decent upscale cuisine if you want a break from the norm.

eating my way around southeast asia

yea I agree with guanubian in HCMC it's more of a question of WHAT you want to eat rather than WHERE. Street food and restaurants are so plentiful that competition is high, which lowers the cost and raises the flavor bar. You really can't go wrong perusing the streets and following your nose. But as far as specific dishes go, make sure to sample (on the street): COM SUON NUONG (caramelized pork chop with rice), BANH CUON (freshly steamed rice paper rolls stuffed with pork and mushrooms), COM GA XOI MO (5 spice fried chicken with fried garlic rice), HU TIEU MI (pork broth based soup with fresh yellow noodles), GOI KHO BO (papaya salad with dried beef), MI QUANG (central style noodles) CA KHO (fish in a caramel sauce) and HEN XAO (stir-fried baby mussels) to name JUST a few. Just point and shoot. Stay out of the DONG KHOI area Vietnamese restaurants. Pricy, and average.

Best cities in Asia to visit for chowing?

For sure..I had myself a burrito in Kuta. I'll admit I enjoyed that carefully crafted explosion of cheese and salsa. Yeah, u know what ur doin in Saigon..the best food is almost never found in air-con restaurants.

Best cities in Asia to visit for chowing?

I didn't spend much time in Kuta, more like Mexico spring break for Aussies- not that I wouldn't have enjoyed that 5 years ago sans GF. I didn't rate Ho Chi Minh City by what kind of pizza or dosa it can produce so when I say all of Bali I'm speaking of all the Balinese/Indo food throughout the isle - not enchiladas on Poppies II. Ubud is worth the trip for sure, still dreaming about some of those flavors..

Best cities in Asia to visit for chowing?

1) Penang, Malaysia. Malay+Chinese+Indian to die for.
2) Ho Chi Minh City. Insane variety if you know what to look for. Seafood aplenty
3) Ubud (or all of Bali). Babi guling. Sate ayam. Pepes. Amazing as well.

HCMC or Hanoi

Funny, I actually live right down the street from a clutch of 'thit cho' restaurants that are packed every night. Going towards the airport on Cach Mang Thang Tam street, make a left on Chan Hung street (about 50 meters past Le Thi Rieng Park). You'll see 3-4 'quan an thit cho' restaurants on this bumpy-ass street and you'll certainly smell that grilled dog from a distance. Pham Van Hai street sells fresh canine carcass in the morning if you're interested in cooking it yourself. Have fun!

HCMC or Hanoi

I think it'll be easier for you to stay in D1, since English is spoken more widely than in the outer districts. Plus, transportation (xe om or taxi or bus) is really cheap so it'll be no problem jumping from meal to meal. You can also rent a moto if you want ultimate flexibility/excitement.

HCMC has the biggest selection of cuisine in the country. You can get foods from all over Viet Nam here. In the countryside or in smaller cities, the choices will be more limited (READ: HU TIEU, PHO, BUN BO, MI QUANG, COM). Hue has tasty dishes such as COM HEN and BANH BEO but you need to get outside the travelers belt. In my opinion the north has far less variety and overall flavor than other parts of VIET NAM, and two of the most famous northern dishes (PHO and BANH CUON) are prevalent all over HCM. Any coastal destinations (MUI NE, PHU QUOC, NHA TRANG) will serve fresh seafood. Try SO DIEP NUONG (grilled mussels), GHE HAP (steamed crab) or Oc Len Xao Dua (snails with a coconut milk sauce). So i'd say HCM is top, then HUE..although you can find almost anything if you sniff around enough.

Five Hours to Kill at SGN (airport)


on the corner of TRUONG SON ST and SONG DAY.
TRUONG SON is the main street leading to the airport. SONG DAY street is less than 1 kilometer from the 'port.

Excellent northern style 'bun cha' [grilled pork with rice noodles and veggies] and crab-filled fried spring rolls 'cha gio cua'. Delicious. 20.000 VND. Beats the souless pho 24 chain hands down. A few pennies cheaper, too boot.

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) report

'cơm gà hải nam'
379 nguyễn tri phương street. District 10.

Try the sambal shrimp as well. Good luck.

HCMC or Hanoi

Yeah I disagree. If you just talking about the relatively tiny downtown district 1 area of HCMC with the 5 star hotels and overpriced restaurants then yes, it's more developed. But HCMC is huuuuge..take a 5 minute drive outside the city center and there is nothing western about it. Of course every tourist/expat driven area of a city is going to have more of an international feel. The old quarter of Hanoi, despite it's charm is teeming with mediocre restaurants and shops selling useless crap foreigners. Hanoi is a much smaller city, so there are less international businesses. Despite being the economic capitol of Viet Nam, HCMC still keeps pumping without a McDonalds, Starbucks, Burger King or 7-11, to name a few. I feel like it's still one of the least developed metropolis cities in Asia. Make sure you get out of district one though.

HCMC or Hanoi

Actually I believe Sai Gon is the better version. Hands down. Every northern dish you could ask for is available down south..along with tons of southern specialties much harder to find in Ha Noi. More fruits and veggies, more flavor, more variety of street's just no contest.

com suon, mi quang, banh khot, com ga xoi mo, hen xao, mi vit tiem, bun it up.

My Banh Mi Ranking

I've been living in Ho Chi MInh (Sai Gon) for a year. The Banh Mi's on the roadside here are mostly of the Cha Lua (boiled pork sausage) and Op La (sunny side fried egg) variety- although my favorite are Banh Mi Cha Ca (fried fish paste), Banh Mi Xiu Mai (meatball) and Banh Mi Suon Heo (grilled ribs- a rarity but amazing). Cilantro, pickled veggies, cucumber and chili are standard. Pate and 'mayo' are usually available as well. When the baguettes are fresh it makes all the difference. Imagine what 96 degree heat and 97% humidity does to a baked bread. They definitely have less meat than those back in the states (i grew up in san francisco), and the overall size is smaller. It's funny because the chic air-con indoor banh mi spots are starting to pop up in the city center and around- although never as charming as the streetside variety. Finding a good banh mi hawker is tough- i'd say only about 1 in 5 can legitimately be called delicious and satisfying. Once you've got a Banh Mi lady though, ride that train. Oh yeah, for 35 cents you can afford to treat your friends.

May 04, 2009
anthonyrza in General Topics

Embarking on a Food Tour of Southeast Asia

yea I read that as well before I departed but to be honest they don't use coconut milk so often in (savory) dishes. I love anything with curry and coconut milk but thailand is the place to get your curry fix without a doubt.

although in ho chi minh they do have one curry dish
ca ri ga (chicken curry) or ca ri vit (duck curry). It's a basic powder mix, unlike the pastes of thailand or indonesia but the fresh coconut milk gives the dish a great flavor. There's no go to place for this, just keep your eyes open or ask around. Most of them actually taste the same. Nice to dip a (suprisingly unimpressive) banh mi into.

Embarking on a Food Tour of Southeast Asia

The only downside of eating ho chi minh is there isn't really one street with EVERYTHING. If you're up to it, i'd suggest renting a moto- makes food hunting ALOT quicker- if not a little more invigorating.

NGUYEN TRI PHONG STREET (district 10) (from NGO GIA TU to BA THANG HAI) has several streetside seafood restaurants serving fresh(ly killed) seafood for cheap. Less than $12 US for a kilo of shrimp (200.000 VND) although you can get smaller portions and taste more (i.e. 100 g coconut steamed shrimp, 100g grilled shrimp). Cua Rang Me is a popular crab dish, which is a whole crab stir fried with tamarind sauce- do try. Drinking a beer + noshing on fresh seafood + sitting in your mini-plastic chairs is classic saigon.

CACH MANG THANG TAM (district 3) street has a stall in the afternoons (2-3 ish) that serves an EXCELLENT soup (mi quang- a specialty from central vietnam) and amazing fresh fried donuts as well. It's right across from the LAN ANH sports club about 100 meters north of the traffic circle where BA THANG HAI street ends.

AN DUONG VUONG street and the surrounding district 5 area have a lot of COM TAM eateries. Follow your nose, you'll smell it. Lunch (11-1) or nighttime.

Besides that, just head outside of district one and you'll see tons of food stalls all over selling: HU TIEU, PHO BO, MI XAO and so on...

Many foods are only available via portable carriers (bicycles). Always flag these people down! You never know what they'll take out of their magic box, and it should never cost more than 4.000 VND (.24 cents).

Phu Quoc fish sauce is available all over ho chi minh. This island is the most famous for it's fish sauce among vietnamese, but I've found 'nuoc mam' from phan thiet (mui ne) to be delicious as well. you can't go wrong. Also, it's not syrupy..maybe you are confusing it with the prepared version of 'nuoc mam' which adds a sugar to tone down the 'funk'. No fish sauce factories in Ho chi Minh to my knowledge. You gotta get out the the beach for that.

Embarking on a Food Tour of Southeast Asia

I'm from california (bay area) where's there's also a huge population of Vietnamese immigrants (and restaurants). The restaurants are GOOD - even great, and do create close renditions of their homeland dishes but it's still not the same. It can't be the same. They might have access to some- but not ALL the ingredients needed; such as fresh vegetables. Even domestically between the north and the south there is different access to fruits and vegetables. A coconut in Ha Noi costs almost twice as much as a coconut in Saigon because they need to travel from Ben Tre province (mekong delta area) and more gas is obviously needed to take it the distance up north.The chicken even tastes different here (better! free range i've been told). I'm sure the vietnamese in california and toronto KNOW exactly how to make their pho or banh mi's, but for the sake of availability and profitability they have to make some changes. To be honest I prefer the banh mi's in San Francisco to Saigon, with their superior bread and larger portions of grilled meat. Just some personal insight as to why it probably never 'tastes the same'!

Embarking on a Food Tour of Southeast Asia

oh, here's a dinner.

Embarking on a Food Tour of Southeast Asia

District 1, despite it's lack of street food, still has something to offer.

Straight in the middle of backpackerville on Bui Vien street there a pretty tasty com tam stand that opens up at night. Ask for the grilled pork (suon heo) with a fried egg if you please (trung ga) and fish sauce to flavor the rice (nuoc mam).

Downtown has a bunch of middle-upper end vietnamese restaurants as klyeoh has mentioned. Quan an Ngon is a decent option especially when you want to try a selection of different dishes in one sitting without running all over the city.

A few of my favorites in saigon:

Canh Chua Ca - Sour fish soup (specialty of southern vietnam)
Thit Kho Nuoc Dua - Pork shoulder simmered in coconut juice (also a southern specialty)
Bo Bia - streetside rice paper rolls stuffed with cooked radish, dried shrimp, fried shallots, basil, and peanuts. Might have to order them at a restaurant in D 1. (such as the franchise 'wrap and roll')
Dau Ho (tofu) - A friendly lady sits down on the corner of Dong Khoi and Le Thanh Ton from around 11 o'clock selling bowls of tofu with sweet ginger syrup and coconut cream. 3.000 VND.
Hu Tieu - Another specialty of the south (mekong region). This is a pork broth soup that's almost as popular as Pho in Ho Chi Minh. The broth is rich and slightly sweet, and usually enhanced with a spoonfull of lard.
Bo Bia Ngot - Bo Bia younger sister; shredded coconut, black sesame seeds and sugarcane wrapped in a delicate crepe.
Saigon Red - Cheap, decent.
Rau Ma - Sweetened veggie drink made from the aforementioned vegetable (rau)

as for PHU QUOC.

The island is chock full of inexpensive FRESH seafood (mostly shrimp, squid and fish) but (in my opinion) most of the beachfront restaurants on Long Beach (main stretch of guesthouses and hotels line up along this strip) don't turn these saltwater beauties into delectable dishes. The first day we ate some food a hotel and decided we'd be better off cooking our own.
We were lucky to stay with a super friendly lady (we actually stayed in her house for 5 bucks a night) and she let us cook in her kitchen! So my girlfriend and I went to the market and made our own creations, eating them on the beach during the sunset.
So, if you can't do that it's sort of hit or miss with the hotels. In my opinion grilled is a better bet than stir fry for most dishes, as they get a little too generous with that 'goopy' sauce most of the time. Grilled seafood dipped in nuoc mam is just about fine for me.
Getting off the beach and into the main town (duong dong) will give you a taste of standard vietnamese 'working class' food found all over the rest of the country. There's an amazing com (rice) stand up the street about 100 meters or less from the airport (if you are exiting from the airport, you make a left on the main street). There's a real friendly young lady. Order fish, or pork, or sausage stuffed squid and be sure to ask for the lovely sauce that's sitting in the pans to spoon over your rice.
The variety in phu quoc can't really stand up to Ho Chi or even Hanoi for that matter but with the surroundings, you'll get along fine. Sip a mango shake while bathing in the crystal clear water. No worries.