Eating Out: Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant

Dining at an ethnic restaurant is supposed to transport diners to the exotic country of the cuisine’s origin.

Most of the time they do not.

The end result is palate numbing combination of forgettable fusion and perpetual fortune cookies with traditional recipes being tailored to suit Western palettes. Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant however is the rare exception.

Seafood Chow Mein at Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant Continue reading

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How to Order and Eat Pho Like a Pro

A large bowl of Pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup)

Every country has at least one signature dish. A culinary speciality that’s evocative of a country’s rich cultural history. While it can be argued that poutine is Canada’s signature, Vietnam’s is pho (beef noodle soup). The dish dates back to the French occupation of Vietnam in the early 1900s, up until which time cattle were mainly used for labour and not as a source of meat.  Resourceful chefs utilized this new ingredient, simmered down the remaining beef bones with oxtail, ginger, charred onions, and spices, and pho was born. Continue reading

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West Coast Salad Rolls

Vietnam will always have a special place in both of our hearts and our livers (thanks to the mass consumption of Vodka Vietnam). We met and worked at a pho restaurant and spent the better part of two months backpacking through the bustling streets of Hanoi down to the serene waters of the Mekong Delta. It’s only fitting that our first food post paid homage to our ongoing fling with Vietnam.

Salad rolls (Goi Cuon) are a popular light Vietnamese snack food served cold or at room temperature. Ubiquitous in Western pho houses everywhere, our version comes with a West Coast twist; with smoked salmon lox and grilled scallops replacing the usual chicken and shrimp. For added flavour, we grilled our veggies, marinated our scallops in spicy peanut sauce and used Thai basil as well as cilantro. While most Western recipes calls for a peanut dipping sauce, our rendition is served with the traditional fish sauce (Nuoc cham). This was an experimental recipe with delicious results. These can be made well in advanced, perfect for entertaining guests.

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