Posts Tagged ‘spring roll’
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!
A mixed group of Americans and Australians met for happy hour at Nijo last week. Located a couple of blocks south of the Seattle Art Museum, the restaurant is on the Puget Sound end of Spring Street.
A courtyard is fenced by bamboo and would be popular for al fresco dining during summer.
Festive baubles dangled from ceiling lights. There was a bar and a sushi counter, and tables were by the window.
Happy hour is daily, early and late. The beverages menu was the same length as the food menu! A selection of appetisers, maki, temaki, nigiri and sashimi were discounted.
Three large marbles of takoyaki were drizzled with mayonnaise and aonori. A savoury batter ensconced a tendril of octopus.
A generous mound of chicken karaage was served in an odd sized bowl. The chicken pieces were marinated in soy sauce, ginger and garlic, lightly dusted with flour and deep fried.
On the left was spicy tuna roll, a fiery blend of minced tuna and chilli. On the top right was Bainbridge islander roll, prawn, salmon, cucumber and avocado were seasoned with a spicy sauce. On the bottom right was salmon nigiri, a slice of salmon sashimi atop sushi rice.
On the left was ebi nigiri and on the right was seared spicy shiro magura (albacore tuna) nigiri, both were fresh and succulent.
We shared two desserts, tempura ice cream and fried banana spring roll. Green tea and red bean ice cream were cloaked in pound cake and deep fried. I preferred the delicate flavour of the green tea ice cream. There was no crunchy shell and it was more ice cream cake than tempura.
Crispy and sweet, banana and white chocolate were a sugary filling for the spring roll.
We are fond of happy hour in Seattle and Nijo is another recommendation!
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!
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!