Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Posts Tagged ‘bean sprout

There is a popular Malaysian eatery in Sydney with queues on the footpath day and night. We time our meals at Mamak to avoid the crowd by dining early or late. Mamak is famous for their roti. The street frontage has a wide window with a view into the kitchen where chefs efficiently stretch and twirl the pale unleavened dough. It is oiled and seasoned, cooked on the searing griddle where it blisters and colours, and morphs into flaky bread.

We haven’t had Malaysian cuisine since we’ve been in Seattle and I suggested dinner at Malay Satay Hut when we were in Redmond on a weeknight. Located in the Overlake East Shopping Centre, a familiar ‘congee, noodles, rice’ neon sign greeted us.

We walk through a thatched hut entrance into a spacious dining room. A bamboo roof shaded the bar.

A large poster of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur decorated the wall.

A whiteboard listed many specials. The gung pao frog legs and Milo ice piqued my interest!

Photos of Malaysian ingredients introduced the menu.

Singha, a Thai lager, was a refreshing contrast to the strong flavours of the food.

We ordered several dishes to share family style. Roti telur, slivers of sautéed onions were folded in golden layers of roti and dipped in a bowl of curry.

The restaurant’s namesake and signature appetiser, the satay chicken was a highlight. Slathered in chunky slurry of satay, the skewered chicken was tender and smoky. The cucumber nuggets emptied the satay bowl.

Half a Hainanese chicken was served with chilli and ginger sauces. Poached in stock, the boned poultry was fragrant and succulent.

String beans and shelled prawns were stir-fried in belecan (fermented shrimp paste). A peculiar umami taste, the beans were vibrant and the prawns toothsome.

A mound of coconut fried rice was studded with prawns and onions, and flecked with egg. The generous portion was light and aromatic.

To me Malay fare is synonymous with char kway teow. In a miniature wok was flat rice noodles tossed with bean sprouts, chives and egg. Supple strands intertwined with threads of vegetables.

Salt and pepper squid is an Asian staple. Crusted in a delicate batter, the pieces of molluscs yielded to bite, and was spiked with chilli and green onions.

I’m pleased that the original Malay Satay Hut is in Seattle!

Seattle has a reputation for authentic Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines. I’ve had Tamarind Tree on my list and I finally dined there last month. In Asian Plaza on the corner of Jackson and Twelve, I had to circle the mall a couple of times to find the restaurant at the back.

Our group of five gathered for a weekday lunch. The modern interior was decorated in warm tones. A majestic pot of fuchsia and white orchids was on the bar.

We were seated by a thoroughfare with a view of the kitchen.

Featuring a classic wise men motif, the ceramic teapot was handmade Bát Tràng porcelain, as were all the serving plates and bowls.

A caddy of fiery condiments was on each table.

Myra recommended sửa đá chanh, a blended beverage of fresh lime, condensed milk and crushed ice. It was a refreshing milky drink laced with citrus notes, tempering the bold flavours of the meal.

We ordered several dishes to share. Spring rolls (gỏi cuốn) and egg rolls (chả giò chay) were appetising. Vegetables, herbs and rice noodles were wrapped in rice paper parcels.

A salad (gỏi đu đủ) of shredded green papaya, steamed prawns, pickled jicama, julienne carrot, roasted peanuts and fresh herbs was a symphony of tastes and textures.

A golden cratered crescent was filled with prawns, sliced pork, slivers of shiitake mushroom and bean sprouts. The rice flour and coconut milk crêpe batter was crispy and stuffed with ingredients, a delectable version of bánh xèo.

A favourite homely rice pot (cơm gà tươi Hải Nam), the rice was cooked in chicken broth and topped with Hainanese steamed chicken. It was fragrant and rich, brightened by splashes of ginger fish sauce (nước mắm).

The final savoury dish was bún chả Hà Nội, Hanoi grilled pork noodles. I wrapped grilled pork portions, rice noodles and herbs in lettuce leaves and ate the rolls by hand.

The waitress suggested two desserts. First was flan, a dense silky custard in a pool of caramel sauce.

The second dessert was bánh chuối nướng Cognac, Cognac red banana cake. We tipped the glass of warm Cognac coconut milk over the spongy cake, a sticky sweet adult treat.

I understand why the dining room was full for the two hours we were there!

The only Malaysian eatery I know of in Seattle is Malay Satay Hut. It’s been on the list for a while but I’m yet to make the drive to Redmond (and Portland too!) or walk to Chinatown for their traditional Malaysian fare. I was delighted that Banana Leaf was the penultimate restaurant on the Dim-sum-couver (點心哥華) schedule.

Emerald wall, tangerine window frames and daffodil sign, the colourful street frontage was a contrast to the wooden interior.

The specials chalkboard piqued our interest as we waited for a table.

I always imagine a chef wielding a machete in the kitchen to slice a lid on the fresh coconut when I order one!

We sipped cocktails and coconut juice as we perused the extensive menu of curries, rice, noodles, stir-fries, seafood, salads and soups. We selected three classic dishes to share.

Roti canai, warm flaky flatbread, was served with a side of light dhal.

Glistening pieces of Hainanese chicken (海南雞飯) was surrounded by a moat of sliced cucumber and garnished with sprigs of coriander. Toasted peanuts, grated ginger, chilli garlic sauce and soy sauce were condiments. The tender meat was fragrant, the essence of the stock the chicken was poached in. The delicious comfort food was dipped in the sauces and paired with Hainanese rice.

A popular fast food at hawker stalls, char kway teow could be considered the national dish of Malaysia. Flat rice noodles were tossed with sweet soy sauce, chilli, egg, bean sprouts, prawns, fish cakes and squid. We happily nibbled on the starchy stir-fry.

I must get to Malay Satay Hut this year!

I missed the Seattle Foodies First Friday Lunch Club in November as I was home in Australia. The food lovers sampled every dish on the Revel menu and then some! This whetted my appetite and I was keen to return to Revel for Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi‘s fusion of Korean, French and American flavours.

The metal clad facade of the restaurant was a welcomed sight after a windy walk to Fremont on another bleak day.

A modern design and minimally furnished, Revel is stylish and spacious. At its heart is the kitchen and a long, wide counter. Our huddle of three sat at a table for cosy conversations. The low overhead lights were a hazard for those seated on the bench!

I had a prime view of the open plan, stainless steel kitchen where salads are tossed, pancakes flipped, dumplings seared, noodles stir fried, rice bowls assembled and cookies sandwiched. The chefs shuffled quietly around each other and efficiently between stations.

A tray with four glass containers of condiments was presented at each table after ordering.

We shared two appetisers. The first was pork belly, kimchi and bean sprout pancake. Cut into quarters, each piece had a thin slice of marbled pork and a crispy edge.

The short rib dumplings were pressed together in a row and served with a mound of shallots and scallions. A spoon separated the dumplings easily. Each morsel was dense and firm, and in a scrumptious sticky sauce.

My dining companions both had the short rib rice bowl with sambal daikon, mustard green and a raw egg yolk.

I also had a rice bowl. Blackened tofu, king oyster mushroom confit, Chinese broccoli and a raw egg yolk were piled on top of a large serving of rice. It was a delicious combination of crunchy greens, pillowy tofu and meaty mushrooms.

The restaurant was lively and full for weekday lunch, and we left warmed by the heat of the kitchen!

I’m a meticulous planner. I purchase theatre tickets as soon as they’re on sale and schedule weekend activities several weeks in advance. I’m fastidious about aligning our calendars and knowing where we’ll be when and with whom. I’ve relaxed since we moved here and less anxious about spontaneous gatherings.

On a wet and windy day, a group cozied up at Green Leaf for an impromptu but nourishing lunch. Near the corner of King and 8th, Green Leaf has a narrow street frontage with a green awning and a simple logo.

A stain glass panel of a nubile woman separates the entrance from the dining room. The faux bamboo and patterned wallpaper interior is sepia toned. Laminated media clippings and celebrity photos decorate the wall near the stairs.

We ordered several dishes to share. First were two servings of rice paper rolls (gỏi cuốn) artfully presented on a plate. Prawn, pork, Thai basil, vermicelli, peanuts, crispy wafer and lettuce were wrapped in fragile and translucent rice paper, and dipped in a sticky peanut sauce.

Three skewers of silky grilled lemongrass eggplant were topped with fried onions and peanuts with a side of pickled vegetables. 

The combo was a large ceramic bowl of grilled chicken, pork, prawn skewer and spring roll covering a tangled mass of vermicelli.

Two steaming decagon bowls of beef phở were ladled out into smaller portions. Rare beef were swirled in the aromatic broth and a mound of bean sprouts and sprigs of Thai basil were crunchy and fresh. The thin rice noodles were politely slurped and the soup emptied.

Last were pork chop, shredded pork and ‘egg pie’ with steamed rice. Peppery and tender, we each ate bites of this slowly as we were just about full!

Fortune cookies accompanied the bill and mine stated ‘a routine will turn into an enchanting escapade’.

Green Leaf will open a second restaurant in Belltown, near the Olympic Sculpture Park, in early 2012.

I suffered from a cold last week and my appetite was low. Drowsy from medication and hibernating at home, I craved for congee. Without the requisite Chinese ingredients of dried scallop, salted duck egg and preserved egg, I comforted myself with cups of tea instead. I knew congee is sometimes on the menu at Ba Bar so we walked up to Capitol Hill for a weekend lunch.

Sydney suburbs have clear boundaries defined by the government. Your address has your suburb and postcode. In Seattle there are neighbourhoods. Areas are referred to as Queen Anne and Ravenna but only Seattle is in your address. We thought Ba Bar is in Capitol Hill. We strolled to the intersection of 12th Avenue and Madison St, and checked the map. It was another five blocks south!

Located near the Seattle University campus, Ba Bar is in a converted building with floor to ceiling windows. In the entrance foyer, a bakery counter is on the right and adjacent is an open plan kitchen. Produce and spices line the ornate shelves and wooden benches.

A ladder leans against the liquor cabinet, copper mugs hang on hooks and a chalkboard displays an extensive beverages list.

A tumbler contained a pair of chopsticks and a serviette stamped with the Ba Bar logo, ‘street food, cold drinks’.

The lunch menu is categorised into salad and small plate, noodles in broth (phở), vermicelli bowl, rotisserie and Saigon French.

We shared a plate of Huế dumplings (bánh bột lọc chay). Made with tapioca flour, the slippery wrapper was thick and translucent. A curious mung bean paste was gritty and dry, remedied by spooning the spicy soy vinaigrette over the morsels.

Mr S ordered the special of Painted Hills beef stew. A steaming bowl of tender beef and carrots was served with bean sprouts and Thai basil. Egg noodles soaked in the aromatic broth and were gleefully slurped. It was a soothing dish and reminiscent of Chinese herbal soups.

Much to my disappointment, there was no congee on the menu. I consoled myself with a bowl of grilled chicken vermicelli. Piled on cold vermicelli were crispy imperial roll, grilled Draper Valley chicken, shredded lettuce, sliced cucumber, caramelised shallot and peanuts. A cup of chilli fish sauce (nước mắm) balanced precariously on the vermicelli and added a salty heat to the salad.

A bargain at ninety cents each, we nibbled on coconut chocolate macarons with an espresso and a cup of tea.

The return trip is always quicker when we know how far we’re going!


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