Archive For The “Entertaining” Category

A Girl’s Gotta Eat: All The Things I Ate In Thailand

A Girl’s Gotta Eat: All The Things I Ate In Thailand

Pairs Well With…Pad Thai + Pad Thai + More Pad Thai

We’re here.  We made it.  Thailand is the last month of the Asia food challenges.  You’ll be disappointed to know that I just couldn’t bring myself to eat the grand finale of surprises, live shrimp. Instead, I stood on the sidelines drinking a nicely chilled glass of rose, per usual. But to make up for what I didn’t eat, I at least made an attempt at eating scorpions.  #thathappened.  Here is what this month’s food challenge looked like:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I also took up a new hobby this month: consuming frequent amounts of pad thai to the point where my body was rejecting noodles and carbs by the end of the month.  (Okay, that’s actually not even really true at all and probably never will be.  But…I’m pretty sure I haven’t had noodles since I left Thailand.)

Thailand has some of THE BEST food I’ve ever tasted, a likely reason why it is one of the most popular cuisines in the world.  One thing I love about the Thai food is that it almost always consists of the five major flavors (sweet, sour, spicy, salty and bitter) and leaves a lasting impression on your palate. This is also why you can expect a good number of ingredients in any given Thai dish.  You can also bet it will have a strong sent and some level of spice, like it or not.

(more…)

A Girl’s Gotta Eat: All The Things I Ate In Cambodia

A Girl’s Gotta Eat: All The Things I Ate In Cambodia

Pairs Well With…Cambodia + Crunchy Critters + Cooking + Khmer Dishes (which made a memorable impression)

If you recall last month’s food challenge, I ate a lot of weird sea creatures, from snails to tiny shrimps, none of which tickled my fancy.  Month two’s food challenge was quite sea-based, different than the curveball thrown my way in month three: bugs.  As far as I can recall, I never ate a bug, not even as a kid.  I knew the bug eating was bound to happen either in Cambodia or Thailand, so I should have been ready.

Each monthly challenge consists of a minimum of five food oddities that are eaten routinely in the country. I’ve often found myself thinking, “Who the heck would actually eat this?”  Answer: people in third world or underdeveloped countries, where bugs are common “treat” – if you can even call them that. (For the record, crickets are sold at movie theaters as a show snack. I still hold firm that they taste like bacon.) During the month 3 challenge, I tapped out halfway through.  There was NO way in hell I was eating big ass cicada bugs, which were this month’s “Never Try, Never Know” food challenge finale.

Take a look at what month three’s food challenge looked like:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bugs aside, the “normal meals” each month continue to get better and better.  While I liked the food in Vietnam, especially the Pho, I loved the fresh flavors of traditional Khmer recipes.  In fact, I found myself cooking a lot in Cambodia, both at home and with local chefs, which allowed me to learn traditional Khmer cooking techniques and recipes.  All this Khmer cooking inspiration has made its way into this month’s A Girl’s Gotta Eat Guide to Cambodia.

(more…)

A Girl’s Gotta Eat: All The Things I Ate in Vietnam

A Girl’s Gotta Eat: All The Things I Ate in Vietnam

Pairs Well With…Vietnam + Sippin’ + Slurpin’ + Pickin’ + Chop Stickin’

Month 2: Vietnam.  I’ll start by saying there was no bull penis soup this month, thank you very much. On the soup front, I stuck to one of my favorites, pho.  You can’t go wrong.  Sure, there were some left of center items on menus and street carts, but then again, when isn’t there?  You’ll be happy to know that it only took me three days in Cambodia to eat grasshoppers, so there’s that.  (In case you are curious, they taste like bacon of all things.)

But let me tell you what didn’t taste like bacon: last month’s critters.  Every month when we arrive in a new country, we do a thing called “Never Try, Never Know,” a food challenge where we try odd “delicacies” of the country – until we decide to tap out.  It’s like a gross adrenaline rush.  Whatever.

What did the Vietnam food challenge consist of you ask?  Well, here.  Let me show you what we ate – and how I reacted to all these weird creatures:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Phase 2 is what I considered (after the fact) to be the best of the worst…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

…and the third time isn’t always a charm…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But, wait!  Someone said fried snail are better.  Yeah, everything is usually better fried.  Or is it?!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now, I did try rounds four (dove: tasted like chicken) and five (frog: also tasted like chicken..ish.)  I also highly considered becoming a vegetarian upon leaving the event that evening.

In all seriousness, Vietnam offered me some of the best dishes I’d ever had, most of which I couldn’t pronounce off a menu even with three attempts.  (This is when the smile and point method proves highly effective.)  Thanks to the endless amount of noodles I ate, none of which I regret in the least, I am highly turned off by carbs.  Sort of.  Okay, not really.  This month, it’s back on track.

Here were some of the best meals I ate in Vietnam:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As the month went on, you should have seen me with my chopsticks.  Nailed it!  Also, by the good graces of fate, I served as the bride-to-be at a mock tea engagement ceremony where we learned about the behind the scenes workings (ahem, negotiations) of marriage and exchanges of gifts from one family to another.  The best part?  The green bean tea engagement cakes.

Vietnamese Engagement Party

What I’m most excited to share with you is this month’s A Girl’s Gotta Eat Guide to Vietnam. Within this guide, you’ll find my favorite flight snacks, goods from my supermarket sweeps and recipes to unique meals to make at home or with friends.  Don’t be shy.  Missed last month’s A Girl’s Gotta Eat Guide to Malaysia?  No worries!  Here you go.  I’ve got you covered.

For more cricket eating and country jumping, catch me on Instagram, where big moves are being made daily.  More to come from Cambodia!

Oh, The Places You’ll Phở

Oh, The Places You’ll Phở

Pairs Well With…Chopsticks + Culture in a Bowl + Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner

You. Yeah, you. The one thinking “Doesn’t she know that phở is pronounced FA (not FO)?”  Well, yes, yes I do.  But let’s be honest, the annunciation as FO lends itself to many more jokes.  So, for the sake of humoring myself, bear with me and my witty phở jokes throughout this post and I swear to it that the payoff will be a phởnominal recipe you won’t regret spending time on.

Now, for many of you, it’s still winterish where you are, and there is snow on the ground.  You’re looking for those last indoor activities to pass time until spring arrives.  Keep your eye on the prize. You’re almost there.  Stay warm through the remainder of winter by phởmiliarizing yourself with this bowl of noodle goodness.

As many of you have seen from my pictures and Instagram stories, I’ve become slightly obsessed with phở since moving to Vietnam.  For those of you unfamiliar with this phởfilling dish, let me get you up to speed.  Phở is a Vietnamese broth soup with rice noodles (called bánh phở) and meat, usually chicken or beef.  This soup is eaten in Vietnam anytime of day, including breakfast.  (Soup for breakfast is still a slightly odd concept for me to get my head around.) Phở is a healthy dish low in fat, calories and carbs.  It’s also amped up in the spices and flavor department.

As I moved about the city tasting various bowls of soup, I talked to restaurant owners, a few chefs and a handful of locals about the process of making a good phở.  Based on what I was told, I combed the interwebs to find an authentic Vietnamese recipe that fit the description of the insights shared with me – and I found a great one.

Before I give you the goods, I’ll take this as my chance to educate you on the elements that make the perfect phở:

  • A savory, flavorful broth
  • Perfectly cooked noodles
  • Good cuts of meat
  • Flavorful seasonings at just the right amounts

Making phở is a labor of love.  There are shortcuts to make this soup, but the key to success is in your base, the broth.  I know you’re thinking, “Ugh. This is going to take phởever!!!”  Be patient. Stay phởcused.  You’ll have a great time phở ‘sho!

Here we go…it’ll be pretty phởking amazing!

INGREDIENTS:

THE BROTH

2 medium yellow onions (about 1 pound total)
4-inch piece ginger (about 4 ounces)
5-6 pounds beef soup bones (marrow and knuckle bones)
5-star anise (40-star points total)
6 whole cloves
3-inch cinnamon stick
1 pound piece of beef chuck, rump, brisket or cross rib roast, cut into 2-by-4-inch pieces (weight after trimming).
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 ounce (1-inch chunk) yellow rock sugar (duong phen; see Note)

THE BOWLS
1 1/2-2 pounds small (1/8-inch wide) dried or fresh banh pho noodles (rice noodles)
1/2 pound raw eye of round, sirloin, London broil or tri-tip steak, thinly sliced across the grain (1/16 inch thick; freeze for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice)
1 medium yellow onion, sliced paper-thin, left to soak for 30 minutes in a bowl of cold water
3 or 4 scallions, green part only, cut into thin rings
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Ground black pepper

Click here to get the full cooking instructions.  But before you leave, don’t forget to leave your email so we can stay in touch over the next year.  I’ve got many months of exciting adventures ahead, including a quick visit to Australia next week before moving to Cambodia for the month of April.
Go Top
Page generated in 1.495 seconds. Stats plugin by www.blog.ca