Vietnam Lunch: the young bloke next to me was eating a plateful of these, with rice.
Being of daring spirit and with a yearn to learn, I had to try one too. Delicious!
Similar to a Cantonese ham sui gok, it is a light, hollow, doughy “puff” coated in baked rice “bubbles” (a la crispy rice crackers) and, I presume, pan fried.
These being hollow, you could have a lot of fun experimenting with various fillings such as paté or mince, or do vegetarian with diced tomatoes and onions; maybe a sweet version with raisins and citrus peel, and serve hot with vanilla bean ice-cream.
(I’ve impressed myself with these ideas. What am I doing, pretending to write? I should be pretending to “chef” …)
A big queue was happening at this Nha Trang street food stall – building labourers, office workers, they were pulling up on their motor scooters; the family running the stall were working like clockwork, filling take-away containers and ladening plates.
They all seemed to be ordering rice with a bit of everything. So I did, too! Smart move.
The meal was pork done various ways, chicken, boiled/stewed pigeon eggs, vegetable, crunchy fried shrimp (yes, I crunched them – shell, head and all), and other bits and pieces.
Generously spoon on some SE Asian home-made sweet chilli syrup, and tuck in …
Tastes of Taiwan: “3-Cup Chicken” (aka san bei ji) is chicken-on-bone pieces fried in a sauce traditionally made of 1 cup of soy sauce, 1 cup of rice wine, 1 cup of sesame oil (hence the name “3 cups”!) with ‘”sweet spice” flavours of cinnamon/cloves/star anise, raw sugar, soft lemongrass, sliced garlic & ginger, Thai basil, scallions, capsicum – and maybe a few “chef’s secrets”.
Here it’s served with steamed rice topped with Taiwanese “pork gravy”, lettuce with dressing, and the tastiest, crunchiest wok steamed veggies.
It’s a meal and half, only $15.80 as “lunch special” at Jymmanuel Eatery in East St Kilda (formerly Tang Dumpling House, a fav weekend family lunch venue)
Oh – and, of course, with the ubiquitous Asian boiled egg!