Judskii

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Category: Stomach Ramblings (page 2 of 2)

Mmm… The Things I Eat.

Fuck, I love food. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. You may say you love food, but nuh uh girl, you don’t love food like I love food. Ha! I’m sure I’ll find something more interesting than food to post for you sometime soon, but I don’t think there’s anything more interesting than food. Food, food, food, food.

This recipe was based on another Food Wishes video. I found this video while I was on my 3-week sojourn in Vietnam, and you do not know the intense fire that burned in my belly. I craved lasagna, day and night, day and night, day and night. It was only when we got back to Canada and organized a family fiesta night that we were able to create this delicious looking thing. Let me tell you, it damn well tasted as good as it looks. It was 239874x more delicious than it looks.

Caramel pudding, or ‘flan.’ I don’t know about you but I love this stuff. Maybe it’s the taste, maybe it’s the texture. More likely, it’s a combination of the two. It’s like a baby crème brûlée, and boy do I like my crème brûlée. I’m glad this thing is cheap, meaning they serve it at most buffets. I load up on more than my fair share of this. I could eat it all day.

Free food at work. For lunch, I made myself a steak sandwich. A goddamn steak sandwich! On fresh-out-of-the-oven italian Ciabatta, a medium steak, some roasted onions and peppers, lettuce, and honey mustard sauce. *drool. I know what I’m having for lunch tomorrow.

Natas or “Portuguese egg tarts” are another thing I have to be careful around at work. If I don’t watch it, I’ll end up eating a billion of them. These are egg tarts, but they’re not like the asian egg tarts. Their custard is thicker, not as sweet, with a slight hint of cinnamon. Their surrounding pastry is light, flaky, crunchy, chewy, all around delicious. But they’re only like that if you get them fresh in the morning. If you’re lucky, they’ll stay like that till the next day. But seeing these arrive first thing in the morning, all fresh and warm and whatnot, is heaven.

Churros in Kensington Market. I’d only ever had churros once before at the Montreal Jazz Festival (I think), and I was jonesing for more of them after once passing by a sign advertising them in K-market. Finally, after a few months of procrastination, I went to get some. The two on the right are filled with chocolate and the one on the left is just plain. They were deliciously crispy, warm, and soft. Totally worth it. It was only a few days later that I learned this was the place that sold Kimchi Empanadas. It is my mission to go have a couple this summer, but hopefully before that.

Hue

The trip to Hue was long, grueling, and mildly rewarding. Hue is what we call the central region of Vietnam. The country is split up into 3 distinct parts, Bac (North), Hue (middle), and Nam (South). Only us in the North speak proper Vietnamese, HAHAH. No, really, all them other Vietnamese people speak some kind of wackadoodle. Those in the South have an annoying high pitched whine that goes along with their speaking, and the Hue people seem to speak a whole ‘nother language. “English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?!” Or rather, Vietnamese. Seriously.

Our first stop was to visit my paternal grandparents’ village, where we, apparently, have a bunch of family that I’ve never heard of. Even my dad rarely go to see them. They live about 3 hours south of Hai Phong. It was weird seeing all these people. The village was very run down and poor, and their house, dark, as it is with most Vietnamese villages in the rural areas.

Both my grandparents were from this village, and way back, probably in the 30’s, they both left the village to go to the city of Hai Phong. They weren’t together, and I’m not sure if they knew each other, actually, but what I do know is that they met in the city and got married, had kids, and my grandfather started his bus business. That’s where my dad was born.

We didn’t stay there too long, just long enough for a short visit, and then we made our way further south to Hue. Including the 3 hour trip to my grandparents’ village, it was probably a 16 hour trip. This was our first food stop. Built on top of some body of water, it was a rather nice idea. We were suspended over the water, with a great view of the fish/shrimp/waterlife farms. My awe at the place didn’t last long though, because I had to pee.

What’s this photo of? What are you showing me? A room? with a little hole in the back? A white box filled with questionable fluid? I thought you had to go to the bathroom. Yeah, I had to go to the bathroom. WTF IS THIS SHIT. I walked in and out of the bathroom umpteen times, refusing to go to the bathroom in this forsaken place. However, we were 6 hours out from the city and another 10 hours from our destination. Yes, I had to suck it up and pee in this bathroom. You can’t even call it a bathroom.

How do you pee there, you ask? You squat, pee on the floor, and the floor is tilted back and the fluids go through that hole. What about the solids? What do you do about the solids?!?! I don’t know. I don’t want to know.

So I go back to our room to eat, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I sat there for the better part of the hour, utterly grossed out, and not having the stomach to eat anything there. It doesn’t help that it was seafood either, and I don’t particularly like seafood. Especially the kind that looked like it was fished out from the muddy waters beyond. I prefer to not know where my food come from k, thanks.

Fish from beyond, that was probably not half bad tasting.

Other food that I just couldn't eat.

Melodramatic, you say? You weren’t there, man. It was horrible. I am just very thankful that I don’t have to put up with that every day. It was a bit of a shock to my system, and I sat at the table, zombified. It’s times like that moment that I wish I were a boy.

In other news, when I got over that, and we got to Hue, we had some rather spectacular dishes. Delicious! A lot of North people don’t like the Hue way of doing things, but I’m down for different foods.

Noodles, bean sprouts, pork blood.

Bun Reu Cua. My favourite dish, Hue Style. Vermicelli with egg/crab mushballs, in a tom yum-like broth, with onions, chili sauce, and cilantro on top.

Chicken

Tofu

Front: boiled pork. Back: Pork and shrimp deliciousness. My favourite way that you can prepare pork, but I don't know what it's called in English. "Thit Lon Kho" though the spelling might not be right. It's a sweet and tangy sautee or something.

Fresh coconut juice (back) and fresh sugarcane juice aka "nuoc mia" (front)

Orange juice.

Passionfruit juice. Yes, I was addicted.

East Meets West

Growing up in Canada, when you go away, you begin to miss things that you take for granted while in Canada. You miss the comfort of not worrying about lizards crawling up your snatch every time you go pee. Is someone going to try to grab your purse when you’re not paying attention? (Trick question. You should always be paying attention.) So, especially if you’re younger, you start wishing you were back home, in the comfort of air conditioning (or rather at this time of the year, heating). Not having to wear sandals in the house because the people are too dirty to clean their house properly. So, we find the closest thing we have to home and we cling to it.

In Vietnam, it was Parkson Place. It was clean. Like, shiny clean. With actual clothes on racks, albeit ugly clothes. There were staff, and even a cafe. On the top floor, was an arcade and food court. And a bowling. How many times did we go bowling in those three weeks? I lost count, but I know that my score just kept getting progressively worse instead of improving. But my tolerance for Heineken improved, so worth it? Heineken is the only decent beer available there.

My brother’s favourite meal was KFC. Yes, you can groan now. All the choice in the world, and food you can’t get halfway around the world, and you go for KFC. Though, I’m not going to lie, I also partook in the finger-lickin’ goodness. There’s just something so satisfying about tasting familiarity in a place that’s so very outside your comfort zone.

There were also some Vietnamese renditions of American classics that weren’t half bad. Of course, we just wanted to try it to see what it was like. The pizza wasn’t too bad, it was just.. different. Everything we did in Vietnam, just felt so (surprise, surprise) Vietnamese. Not hating on my culture, but there’s only so much I can take.

The spaghetti actually came out better than expected. It was really just a tomato sauce with carrots, that tasted a bit watery, but some people I know have made worse spaghetti sauce. So, A for effort, Vietnam. A for effort.

Mong Cai

One day, sometime after Christmas, a large group of us drove up to Mong Cai for some apparently cheap cheap shopping. It was about an 8 hour drive north, as it’s right on the Vietnam/China border, which is why things there are so cheap. This, my dears, is where you can get all the legit Luis Vutiton and Verascae clothing and purses, if that was your desire. The scenery there was gorgeous, though the roads, as always, were rocky at best.

However, you had to bargain your ass through everything in the market, and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s haggling. Just let me buy things at the right price, people, and stop trying to rip me off. Ffuuuu. I’ll just let other people do the talking for me, however, and I’ll just pay whatever price they say. I don’t care.

It’s a bit bad though, because I’m not holding Canadian currency, spending Vietnamese dollars is like water. Just here, I’ll pay for this, this and that, and before you know it, I’ve run out of cash. Horrible mentality.

We stayed at a family friend’s hotel that night and were served the absolute grossest meal I’ve ever seen. Well, gross because we were so Canadian that we couldn’t bear to even look at it. Actually, most of my family couldn’t, even the recent immigrant. So, the parents were forced to eat it out of politeness while the rest of us starved ourselves, waiting to go somewhere else to eat. You know, if I were served this in Canada, I’d probably eat it. Actually, if it was anywhere else, I would have eaten it but because I have a really skewed perception of Vietnam, most likely in a negative way, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat it.We did get served this wonderful corn juice though, which was boiled and mashed corn, slightly strained, and mixed with a condensed coconut milk of some sort. So sweet, so fattening, so delicious.

Silkworms stir-fried with bean sprouts and onions.

Sauteed lizard.

Fried gator.

Stewed lizard.

This cold-blooded cooking though, blehh, so gross. Even looking at the images now, I remember the taste, the chewy, sinewy texture, the toughness. *shiver* Nope, no sir, can’t take it.

Mong Cai was uneventful for the most part. We went shopping during the day, went back to the hotel at night, did a little karaoke, and then slept. We left the next morning. I was a little miffed because I thought we were actually going to cross the border and going into China, but no, we stayed in Vietnam.

Why I Miss Vietnam

AWWWW HELL YEAH. Top to bottom (ish), vermicelli noodles, sweet rice, shrimp, calamari, beef?, spring rolls, chicken.

It’s the post that y’all been waiting for. Yes, the food episode! There are many pictures and meals and deliciousness here, so I’m going to break them down into categories for you. I’m drooling as I write all this. 🙂 I’m tempted to write “soooo delicious” in every single one of the captions, but that would get repetitive and boring, so take my word for it, unless otherwise specified, it was delicious. There are a bunch of other foods, but here’s a selection of them.

Drinks:

I don’t have a picture of Nuoc Mia (Sugarcane juice) because I only had it once or twice, it was nearly out of season, but that shit is bombtastic.

Sinh To Bo and Chanh Leo - Avocado Shake and Passion Fruit (with crushed ice), respectively. Avocado shake is basically avocado, ice, sugar, and condensed milk. You can get it at most Vietnamese places in Canada. The passion fruit with crushed ice is damn godly. I love crushed ice. I love chewing on it. Then there's condense milk. Or coconut milk. Probably condensed milk. And then passion fruit stuff at the bottom and you mix it all together and then you die and go to heaven, cause life is over after that. It's that good. 🙂 This was my addiction during those three weeks.

Che - More condensed milk and crushed ice. With everything under the sun underneath. Coconut flesh, yellow beans, jelly, some other stuff that I've no clue what it is. Just general goodness. 8000 dong a cup. Or 35 cents.

Snacks:

Thit Bo Kho - Spicy beef jerky. Can't find anything like this over here. Shredded beef jerky with chili peppers and with lemon over top. Drooling. 🙁

Jackfruit - Vietnam has so many great fruits to offer but this is my absolute favourite, even if it is available in Canada. Very sweet and has a nice texture.

Fried shrimp. Soak it in. NOMNOMNOMNOMNOM

Fried potato and fried banana things. Crispy and delicious on the outside. Yummy and soft and yummy on the inside. My momma wouldn't let me eat this too often though (or too many at a time) because it's just deep fried in old oil on the street. Still, it as delicious. I'd still eat it.

FRESH. BREAD. SO WARM. SO HHHHNNNNNNGNGGG. Vietnamese bread is actually evolved from French baguettes (due to that whole colonizationg thing) but it has become very distinct and like.. delicious.

Oh yeah. Fried squid. Fresh out of the water. We usually eat it dry with hot sauce. But hot and crispy with hot sauce is pretty damn bomb too.

CHOCO PIE. Like Jos Louis. But cheap. But it will do when you're craving fake food.

Calamari. 'Nuff said.

Meals:

Pho - I'm pretty sure this is known as THE Vietnamese dish. Pho Pho Pho Pho. So delicious. My brother and cousin dissed it because it doesn't taste like Canadian Pho. Fuck that shit. It's so much better. Not that different, but definitely so delicious. At $1.30 CDN a bowl, really, can you complain? Though, it's a bit more impressive when you say $30,000. Or, 30,000 dongs. Yeah yeah, LAUGH. But I'll have the last laugh because you ain't never had pho like this.

Mien Kho Dac Biet - Dry glass noodles mixed with vegetables, shrimp, pork, chicken, and beef.

Mi Bo Sot Vang - Ramen noodles in a thick beef broth. It was a really sticky sauce that had the texture of snot, but don't let that deter you because it's damn delicious. It had a nice salty flavour that complimented the beef and noodles. This is the only place in all of Hai Phong (and maybe even Vietnam) that makes this stuff correctly. It's hidden in a tiny alley by my grandmother's house, and you have to enter through the kitchen to walk up to a second level.

Crab for hot pot. Look at all that orange stuff. So yummy.

Bun Reu Cua - Vermicelli noodles in a crab and egg stew. My favourite home-cooked meal. My mom makes this amazingly. So yummy. Slight tang, and the shrimp meat gives substance. Paired with small noodles? Nothing better.

Shanghai-style Chow Mein noodles. Not as delicious as in Canada (as I've never actually been to Shanghai). I was craving something familiar, but Vietnamese people should stick to Vietnamese cooking.

A fish salad with bits of sour fish, some vegetables, mint, peanuts (ADRIENNE, LOOK AWAY!), and some fish sauce (nuoc mam), among other things because I don't know how to make it. I only know how to inhale it.

Another version of the fish salad, except this one has jelly fish instead, and what looks like tiny bits of beef jerky? YUM A LUM MMMMM.

Bun Ga Long Lon - Vermicelli noodles in a light onion broth with chicken and pork blood with some sliced raw (green and white) onion.

Beef salad/stir fry thing - Beef cooked with onions and celery on a bed of fresh greens and tomatoes, topped with a healthy portion of cilantro.

Bird Stew - As it says. AHHAHA. I didn't eat this, because I'm a little squeamish, but it smelled good. It's like Trung Vit Lon (or Balut or developed/fertilized chicken/duck eggs ), I can eat them well, and they're delicious, but I just can't look at them first. This is just another version of an onion/beef broth soup.

Boiled chicken. Simple, but delicious. Meant to be eaten with this sauce: Salty soup mix with ginger, garlic, chili peppers, lemongrass, and juice of a lemon. LEMONGRASS IS MY CATNIP. I love this dipping sauce. Both salty and sour and chicken tastes so good in it.

Clams. Or oysters. Or mussels. Or something. Whatever they were, they were delicious. And I'm the kind of person that never liked oyster/clam/mussel-things.

Soup with mushrooms, onions, and shredded chicken.

Chicken wings. I'm glad this delicacy is universal.

Bo Nuong - Grilled beef. Cooked in butter. With onions and stuff. Pretty standard. Not exclusive to Vietnam.

Mien Xao - Glass noodle fried salad - Omg. Omg. Omg. This is soooo good. Fried onions. That black stuff that is everywhere in Viet cuisine that I don't now what it is, some mushrooms, small bits of pork. MMM. FFUUUU I want this now.

Soi - Sweet Rice - Probably sweetened with coconut milk.

Bun Cha Ca - Vermicelli with fish sausage and some sort of sour vegetable. The tomato-based broth is pleasantly sour and flavoured with a bit of dill. Had this for breakfast 2 or 3 times. It was right across the street from my house in the city.

Rice noodles with pork and beef sausage and some sort of sauce/soup/thing/thatisreallygood/yum. Fried onions on top.

Squid. MMM. Home made and fresh. Tender.

With dog meat. (I didn't eat any this time though)

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