i can’t believe it’s been about a month since i came back from the U.S.! Time does really really fly…
As my now brother-in-law’s, Donny, family is Vietnamese, the trip to Kansas for my sister’s wedding was filled with tons of real authentic Vietnamese food. I knew right from the start that I’ve always been a fan of pho – who can’t resist a hot bowl of beef noodles! Back during college days, pho was pretty much a staple for Jon and I, eating a bowl of pho at least once a week. Yet, the pho standard in Singapore has only just been okay and every time we went back to Seattle, pho is definitely on our to-eat-list.
Although I’ve eaten many many bowls of pho in my life thus far, my knowledge of vietnamese cuisine is as good as knowing that in typical pho restaurants, the further you go down the list of pho, the more beef parts you get. Hence, I was extremely excited to go to Kansas, not just to attend my sister’s big day, but also to get a taste of authentic vietnamese food.
During the stay in Kansas, we were hosted by one of Donny’s relatives, whom we call Aunt Michelle and Uncle Jimmy. As soon as we got to their house, they had started food preparation, preparing boxes of rice paper sheets so that we could start rolling them for lunch the next day. We set around the kitchen counters as we hand-rolled delicious banh uot with fried onions inside. It resembles chee chong fun we see in typical dim sum restaurants and although I’ve eaten this since young, this is definitely one of the dishes I’ve never dreamed of making just because it looks too delicate and too difficult to make. We made trays and trays of this delicious goodness and it wasn’t till lunch the next day did I see how banh uot all comes together. With bean sprouts, cucumber, spring onions, grilled pork, cha lua, a sauce made using fish sauce and a couple of other ingredients, this dish is like nothing i’ve ever tasted before! It was incredibly fresh tasting and all the different textures really came well together.
On a separate note, during my sister’s Singapore wedding, Donny’s parents came over to Singapore and on one of the nights, they made the rice paper sheets from scratch and recreated the same dish in Singapore. Such a pity that I was at work during the preparation and couldn’t see how it is made.
On one of the other nights in Kansas, Aunt Michelle and Uncle Jimmy, both excellent cooks, decided to hold a competition. Aunt Michelle cooked bun rieu while Uncle Jimmy cooked pho ga. Aunt Michelle served her bun rieu first and boy was it so good! It is a vegetable broth and tastes much healthier than pho. It tasted so good that we kinda forgot all about having a second dish to try and before we knew it, we were too full to stomach anything else. The bun rieu, like the bunh uot is really light tasting, and after eating quite a bit of vietnamese food, I realised that that is actually what I love most about vietnamese food! It’s super awesome to eat great tasting food, but even more awesome to eat nutritious great tasting food :)
We had Uncle Jimmy’s pho for breakfast the next day but…I was too hungry and forgot to take a photo :P For now, drool once more on this other picture I took of Aunt Michelle’s bun rieu :)
And, with a blink of an eye, we had to say goodbye to Kansas. Till the next time we go to Kansas, I’ll be missing vietnamese food big time :'( (unless i go to vietnam soon, which i’ve been dying to go!)