Sunday, December 11, 2011

Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls), in a vegetarian-twist

When I dine in Lemon Grass in Ayala Terraces, my meal will never be complete without the Vietnamese Spring Roll – I love the light, the crisp-cold fresh vegetables that is from time to time accented by unfamiliar herb taste but complemented with a sweet-spicy peanut dipping sauce. I am used to eating fresh lumpia (or lumpiang sariwa), our version of the dish with ‘ubod ng niyog’ rolled in soft egg-flour wrap with a sweet peanut sauce, so eating this ‘lumpia’ version of Vietnam is something I can relate into.

Indeed we are all Asians – If Chinese has lumpia (Hokkien term is ‘Lunpia’ for spring rolls) which we Pinoys had adopted and made our popular versions of either fried or fresh, Vietnamese have their own version too. Vietnamese cuisine is known throughout the world as one having the healthiest cuisines since most of their dishes call for fresh vegetables and herbs –and they eat it raw, either as a side dish, toppings or mixed in soups. That is also the reason of that ‘unfamiliar taste’ in the spring roll – the herbs which we Pinoys are not used to.

If you opt for something healthy, then include Goi Cuon in your order list if you happen to dine in any of the Asian restos in the city. But you can prepare this easily at home since most of the ingredients are readily available. The recipe that I will be sharing was only tried once, before this blog was born months ago. Good thing I was able to take photos in each of the steps. For this recipe, I’m tweaking this to a much healthier version by using tuna instead of pork or shrimp. For quite sometime, I have been very particular on what I eat, that is why I prepare my own food rather than going out and eat somewhere else.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thai-Asian Cuisine de Cebu | A hole-in-the-wall Thai Resto

My fascination with Thai cuisine started in one eventful night of ‘Loi Krathong’, a Thai festival of lights I have attended almost a year ago, not in Thailand but in our very own compound where almost half of the residents, my beloved neighbors, are Thais. I have seen how they prepared their dishes –it could never be authentic without the generous amount of aromatic herbs, spices and an odd mixture (for me) of greens and meat, of sweet and salty. Everything is totally different and the taste is amazingly unique and unfamiliar, but there are two things my discriminating taste buds can relate into: the use of fresh herbs (of which I am into) and my love for something that is devilishly spicy.

And since then I frequent Lemon Grass and Krua Thai and Blue Elephant and Sai Gon Quan to burn off my cravings for Thai (and Viet) dishes, while at the same time burning my pocket. However early this year, I found a gem amid the busy street in Banilad – a small unassuming resto, three ranks decent than any carinderia and has offerings that is almost at par with Lemon or Krua. And since then, I fell in love with Thai-Asian Cuisine de Cebu. Each of their dishes has been my comfort food, and the nearest sense of connection I got with home cooking.

7 Reasons to Love Thai-Asian Cuisine de Cebu

1.    Personally, I must say it has a bad restaurant name and was not carefully thought-of. Nevertheless, the food they offer more than compensates for its name. They say its authentic Thai and I can vouch for that—the first chef was a Thai (and later trained a Filipino partner), and the ingredients are fresh from Thailand (and they even grow their own herbs!). But I must say it is Pinoy-fusion, the taste and flavors delight the Pinoy palate. Try their Phad Thai and the famous Tom Yum Soup and you will be transported to the homes and streets of Thailand!

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