Posts Tagged ‘bánh mì’
I had a sandwich for lunch every day during secondary school. It was a utilitarian meal of chicken or tuna with mayonnaise, Kraft Singles, tomato slices and iceberg lettuce. Weary of soggy bread, limp lettuce and mealy tomatoes, I avoided sandwiches in my university years and I still rarely them.
A recent highlight was Fusion on the Run‘s coconut ginger chicken bánh mì at last year’s Mobile Food Rodeo. Naomi suggested Sub-Sand (潛水艇) for a weekday lunch. Located next to Fuji Bakery, Sub-Sand specialises in bánh mì style sandwiches.
Coral walls and a black menu with orange print was the backdrop for the sandwich counter. An illuminated light box displayed photos of dishes.
A shark motif decorated the dining room. Shark shaped lamp shades were on the ceiling and a hammerhead sharks mural was painted by the owner.
We ordered two sandwiches to share. The ingredients were layered in crusty baguettes and pinned by a toothpick. Both were garnished with batons of pickled carrot and cucumber, slivers of red onion, shredded lettuce, sprigs of coriander and jalapeño.
Aromatic and succulent, the lemongrass chicken was a delicious contrast of meaty, crunchy and chewy textures.
I had expected the salt and pepper tofu sandwich to be stuffed with cubes of deep fried bean curd, instead they were marinated slabs smeared with mustard. A curious combination in a sandwich, the silky tofu was pleasingly savoury.
I had spotted egg waffles (雞蛋仔) displayed in the window and was delighted that they made my favourite traditional Cantonese street food. I devour a bag a day when I’m in Hong Kong!
A thick batter was poured into a pockmarked waffle iron and rotated for even cooking. The sweet scent perfumed the air, so much so that a guy asked us what we were eating as we exited the restaurant! Crispy edged and spongy inside, the bubble wrap lattice was a light dessert.
Priced between four and six dollars, the generous portions were excellent value!
I had a question mark next to the Mobile Food Rodeo on my calendar as Mr S was returning from a three week work trip on the same day. I hesitated when the lovely Carol offered me a spare ticket but Mr S assured me he would be sleeping off jet lag so I happily accepted.
It was cool and cloudy as we joined the queue just before midday. VIP ticket holders were to have an extra hour before general admission but they were delayed by the fire marshal inspection and thus had a cascading effect on us. Hungry and windswept, we finally entered just before one o’clock.
A barren bitumen block enclosed by a barbwire fence, about a dozen food trucks ringed the perimeter and there were a couple of canopies with stacked hay bales for seating.
The bright graffiti on the Skillet Street Food van greeted us.
Next to the petite Whole Foods truck was Maximus Minimus, a pig with attitude in sunglasses!
Our first food truck was Curry Now. By the time we got our wristbands, I was shivering and in need of sustenance.
We shared a small chicken curry with rice and topped with cilantro. We ate this quickly and appreciated the spiciness.
Street Treats was adjacent and we peeked at the menu. Although tempted by ice cream cookie sandwiches we opted to purchase a salted brown butter crispy bar for later. We split this in the car and it was a sticky treat of sweet nuttiness.
When we were outside the line was moving steadily until we paused at Fusion on the Run. We noticed a menu leaning against a window and were intrigued by the coconut ginger chicken bánh mì.
As we were waiting for our bánh mì, a guy picked up his tacos order. On the left is ono, kalua pork with mango salsa and surfer sauce. The other two are KV fusion, marinated short rib with cilantro and onions.
A crusty baguette was filled with julienned and pickled carrots and daikon, lettuce, cilantro, sesame seeds and coconut ginger chicken. Each bite of the bánh mì was crunchy and juicy, the sour vegetables tempered the richness of the marinated chicken. This was the highlight of the Mobile Food Rodeo!
By now the crowds have at least quadrupled since we got in. Groups were huddled together, balancing plates and trays while standing. Those perched on hay bales were elbow to elbow.
We continued our rotation and walked by Lumpia World, Where Ya At and Kaosamai. After the bánh mì, we skipped burgers, sliders and sandwiches at Bistro Box, Buns on Wheels and Charlie’s Buns N’ Stuff.
The pig shaped chalkboard at The Box caught our attention! A recent addition to the fleet of local food trucks, they’re based in Kirkland.
We ordered a pork belly hum bao each and these were speedily assembled. Slow braised in soy and mirin, a generous slice of pork belly with a scattering of coleslaw was wedged between a steamed bun. The fresh and zingy slaw was a textural contrast to the yielding pork belly and the soft bun soaked up the tasty marinade.
A band entertained the crowds and later, Mayor McGinn appeared on the stage and a cupcake eating contest was held.
The sun had emerged and the atmosphere had livened up. There were some long queues so Carol lined up at Bigfood and I went searching for fries.
I was keen to try poutine, the Québec specialty. Surprised by only a handful of people lingering at Skillet, I joined the short queue just in time for the announcement that they were sold out.
Disappointed, I returned to the area where Bigfood was parked and caught a glimpse of the Happy Grillmore menu. Yukon gold fries with garlic and Parmesan? Yes please!
Unfortunately I was defeated by the wait time. The two chefs were cooking at a frantic pace but they were limited by space. The size of the event overwhelmed the charm of food trucks.
A jungle themed food truck, Bigfood also had a long queue but we were determined to try their grilled flatbreads.
On the left is sasquatch, spicy pulled pork shoulder with green mango chutney and coleslaw. On the right is yeti, braised beef with curried fruit and coleslaw. Colourful ingredients rested on fluffy flatbreads with perfect grill marks! These were tender and luscious, the grilled flatbread was a sturdy utensil for the shredded meat and fruity condiments.
And finally, a red velvet muffin. We scraped off the buttercream and halved the dense and buttery muffin.
Another new food truck, Snout & Co. has ‘soulful food from Cuba to South Carolina’.
As we exited, we were thankful that we arrived early and mostly avoided queuing by the dozens. Hopefully the organisation will improve for next year but it is a fun event to sample the diverse food trucks of Seattle and Portland.
I love noodles. Pasta, udon, ramen, rice, vermicelli, soba, glass, egg – I prefer starchy carbohydrates over grains. Wok fried, steeped in soup, tossed in sauce or dry style, I eat noodles several times a week! Versatile and comforting, the key is to follow the cooking time.
Located on a quiet street corner in an old weatherboard house, the interior was decorated with kitsch lanterns, and the walls were painted red with bamboo panels. I had noticed a patio shaded by rainbow umbrellas. On a clear day with a gentle breeze, I was happy to dine al fresco.
Milky white and translucent, the rice paper roll was tautly wrapped. A sweet peanut sauce seasoned the prawns, romaine lettuce, rice vermicelli noodles and Thai basil with each dip. The combination was fresh and light.
Phở dominated the menu with stock and protein options. I ordered a small bowl with traditional beef stock and brisket. The phở was served with a side plate of bean sprouts, Thai basil and a wedge of lime. I tore leaves off the stalk of Thai basil and submerged them into the broth.
Cilantro, green onions and thin slices of brisket floated in a steaming broth of ginger, cloves, star anise and cinnamon. Aromatic and soothing, I relished slurping the thin rice noodles spoonfuls of soup. There was a generous amount of noodles and brisket and the beef was tender.
A popular Vietnamese sandwich with meat, pickled carrots, cucumber, cilantro, peppers, pâté and mayonnaise, bánh mì is on the take-away lunch menu.
As I exited, Santa and two snowmen wished me happy holidays – it’s Christmas in July!