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Everything posted by trillium

  1. I don't really use a recipe for my sapo dishes, but it sounds like you're on your way to creating what you want. That thick, pale sauce is probably chicken broth thickened with a starch slurry (like cornstarch or potato flour). I like putting tung hoon in my sapos. I did measure stuff for the recipe I did for the eG cooking class, you can look at here, but it's for salted fish/tofu/chicken. regards, trillium
  2. Sheena, the banh beo sounds interesting. Is it common? Street vendors, restaurants? Is this the kind of thing I can find in an authentic Thai or Vietnamese place? Thank you again Sheena. Eric ← You can find banh xeo in many Vietnamese restaurants, it's a Viet dish, not a Thai one. regards, trillium
  3. but rona, you got to simpatica for breakfast, so that counts for something! regards, trillium
  4. I want to add my thanks to the horde for the travelogue with such great pictures. I'm loving them. Does anyone know where to get those yellow longevity dishes in the US (or Vancouver BC)? I really want some and can't find any. I see the red ones actually made out of ceramic and not plastic, but have never seen a nice set of the yellow. regards, trillium
  5. I think it's unreasonable to expect them to have better food than the best places in Thailand, but it's reasonable to expect them to be as good as good places in Thailand, which I think they are. I think people overly glamorize cuisines in their native countries. ← I don't think that Pok Pok was as good as good/average places in Thailand (but is good for an American restaurant) so we'll have to agree to disagree, especially when it comes to some of the dishes you listed. I've had shitty food in every country I've travelled or lived in, and am happy to acknowledge that, but it doesn't have much to do with our discussion. Opinions that aren't the same as yours are hardly = native glamorization. regards, trillium
  6. Nick, since we're making suggestions, I suggest you learn some Thai or go with a Thai speaker so you eat better in Thailand if you think Pok Pok has better food then what you ate there. Seriously. I find it unbelievable that you had such bad food on your trip. I think I had one meal that was your basic bad Thai food for European tourists and everything else we ate was out of this world. I suspect having a Thai, Cantonese, Mandarin and Fukien speaker in the group helped or maybe we were very, very, very lucky? I don't expect a restaurant to make something as suited for my tastes as I can. I was explaining why we don't make it a habit to go there for food that we like eating better at home and giving a disclaimer that I'd only been there once. I happen to make it a habit of going to restaurants that do something I don't do well at home, I don't really care if they're "especially good compared to other restaurants". I hardly think that this approach is the culinary crime you're making it out to be. I think Pok Pok is a perfectly good place to have a meal that as I said, is much better your typical American Thai place. It's unreasonable to expect them to be better then food in Thailand and I don't. It isn't physically possible since there are things that are just not available here or are available only seasonally and taste different from different growing conditions or ways of raising animals. I happen to like my khanom jeen southern style (like for instance with kaeng tai plaa) and I think Pok Pok is doing a more Chiang Mai style and when I checked they were just using behoon, not the fermented actual khanom jeen. Has this changed? As for the condiment tray, while I expect you were trying to be snarky, let me just say that something tastes a lot different when it's been pounded into papaya pieces vs. just sprinkled on top and mixed in. I want a different baseline of flavor before I tinker.
  7. The bread was very good. The crust was a little chewier than I expected to be, but it was still crisp. It could've softened a bit because of the humidity in the kitchen, though. [ ← If they're getting the big boules from Ken's then the crust does tend to soften a lot faster then the smaller loaves. My guess is that the bigger loaves hold more moisture internally. The crusts are shatteringly crispy for about 6 - 8 hrs in my kitchen (depending on humidity). They're always pretty chewy though...and thick. I've never felt that the bread in restaurants was as good as buying it directly from the bakery. I'm not sure why, but I suspect that a few times it's been because the bread was from the day before. It's still good (and better for cooking/grilling/toasting) but texturally not as pleasing. Leonforte is oil that Jim Dixon imports from Sicily. It's nice and mellow and rich, and would let the bread taste really come through. I tend to eat it with a stronger oil though. Did you guys get contraband butter with your radishes, or was it just plain old butter? regards, trillium
  8. I'm glad you got the brisket. And I wanted to tell you to be sure to try the ham and cheese croissant at Ken's Artisan but decided I was being too bossy, but I'm glad you got your mitts on one. I love how savory it is. Next time you'll have to check out the hotdogs in this town and decide for yourself. "Just a hotdog" is never a bad thing...even when it's really bad (and I haven't had a really bad one in this town). regards, trillium
  9. Wow, can you guys eat! I'm glad that you enjoyed your visit. I know what you mean about Pok Pok, I think your expectations were a little high. We live a few blocks away, and have been once, right when they first opened (and within a year of a 3 week visit to Thailand). I think it's a great place for people to go who have only been exposed to Thai food through typical American Thai restaurants. And Andy has the good taste to love our favorite bahn mi sandwich shop in Portland. But we tend to do a better job for our tastes at home, which isn't surprising (we like more chillies, more sour, more fishy, more herby, more street, basically... ). I think the som tom is hurt by the lack of prime tomatoes, chillies and long beans right now. I don't bother making it until they're in season (at least in season in Cali!)...and I like it with crabs. As for Pearl, I've found the same lack of care throughout the years I've tried them. I hate it when something is under-baked and they under bake everything for my tastes. I don't find their "Italian" style stuff any better, but it does taste like the same crap bread I ran into in Italy! And our friends from Dijon always preferred their bread over Ken's because it tasted more like the bread they were used to eating, so go figure... (of course, he didn't like cheese either, so not trustworthy, foodwise). Apizza Scholls kicks ass in the pizza dept. If only I didn't hate standing in line... regards, trillium
  10. I don't think it's all about smoke, I'm talking more about smoke+time+connective tissues. Not just smokiness, but the mouthfeel you get when something with lots of connective tissues has been cooked low and slow for just the right amount of time. You get to taste that in the brisket, pulled pork and ribs but not so much in the prime rib. Everyone has a different take sausages in a bun. I suspect ours are diametrically opposed, I thought the offerings at Good Dog Bad Dog were pretty awful the one time I went when I first moved here. I remember that you were a fan of their stuff. Superdog isn't a place I would go out of my way to eat at if I was on vacation, whether or not it's the best snack in that area for under $5 is a different conversation and one in which I would be inclined to agree with you. However, if we're going to talk about the best hotdog in Portland, my money goes to Otto's every time. I hope that they are not going to the Portland Farmer's Market tomorrow, since it doesn't start until next weekend (April 7). regards, trillium
  11. I hope that you get some of the brisket at Podnah's and not just the prime rib. The prime rib is really good, but I don't think you taste as much of the bbq mastery, where you really do with the brisket (and if you like it fatty vs. lean, be sure to ask for the fatty end). I'm not so sure that Superdogs is worth a special out of the way stop unless no trip is complete without a hot dog. Maybe my view is skewered after living within walking distance of Weiner's Circle for 8 years, but I don't think they're very special. They're just plain old hot dogs (not that that is a bad thing), and I say that as someone who stood in line for 45 minutes at Hot Doug's in Chicago (well, it was for the dawgs and the duck fat fries). I certainly wouldn't pick them over Le Pigeon! have a good time, trillium
  12. If the rooster is neutered, it gets called a capon in Western people's markets (I'm still cracking up at how polite the waitress at our favorite Cantonese restaurant is... no calling the whiteys guilos for her, no sir, they're western people). Anyway, capons are usually a lot bigger and fatter then a hen and good for roasting. Unneutered roosters will be tougher and are really good for long braising, but not stir-frying, steaming or boiling. For example, coq au vin is supposed to be made with a coq/cock/rooster. I think the difference in taste between hens has more to do with species then feather color, but then I've never tasted the difference between brown or white hen eggs either! Some hens, which I prefer, have longer legs and no double breast ( the tenderloin piece is missing). They're usually older "heritage" varieties that happen to be brown or red feathered. regards, trillium
  13. Jicama is also used in "Chinese" or Penang rojak... don't be confused when the recipes call for "turnip", they mean jicama. Hmmm...rojak...that would use up some of the petis udang sitting in the pantry.... regards, trillium
  14. Dejah, can you get frozen baby cuttlefish from Thailand? They are small, but thick and meaty. I've been using them in stir-fries and curries. I'm lazy and don't flower them, just cut them into rings that get very nice and tender. When the partner is in charge of cooking he uses squid and flowers them, but I don't have the patience! regards, trillium
  15. Gastro, did your belly have skin on it? The skin lends a glossy, almost sticky and unctuous texture to the liquid while it braises, and this helps with mouth feel and coating the meat chunks. The other thing I can think of is that maybe your mum used a different part of the belly then what you got. The thicker part comes from closer to the shoulder and tends to have several layers of meat and fat, while the belly closer to the hind legs tends to have only a few layers and the meat is less marbled. If you're not looking at the whole belly, the best way to get the stuff near the shoulder is to buy the really thick pieces with lots of layers. regards, trillium
  16. Hmmm. I just screwed up all the quotes. Anyway, I'm going to be bad and post the favorite M'sian/S'porean cookery books here, instead of in the "Elsewhere's". Our most often referred to book is Mrs. Leung's "The Best of Singapore Cooking". The funny thing is that her "The Best of Malaysian Cooking" is the identical book! Way to be a keen marketer and take advantage of the whole S'pore vs. M'sia competitiveness Times Books! Her style is very old fashioned and we don't always follow the recipes exactly, but it's classic and traditional nonya cooking. I'm not sure you can get this book in the US, but it looks like they've separated out the recipes and reissued them as smaller books. If you want froufrou, the Periplus Singapore cookbook isn't horrid, but the Singapore one is more hotel style food then home cooking. The easiest way is to just use The Star online cyberkuali recipe archives to find a recipe that looks good for you. The other good way to learn online is to go to Thian's www.makan.com site and check out his recipes. Some of them assume a fore knowledge of what you're making and don't give amounts but it's a good starting point to get interested in a dish and the sambal belcan cookbook he's done has very pretty pictures. regards, trillium
  17. I'm in the raw fish drizzled with soya and sesame and slivered ginger catagory. But I only order that out...don't know why. At home it's probably pei dan and pork mostly because those two ingredients are always around. The ikan bilis sound good, but ours never last past nasi lemak. regards, trillium
  18. I meant the lard comment about Singaporean style carrot cake which is fried in littler pieces along with eggs, bean sprouts, garlic and sometimes meats/shrimp, not loh bak goh which has the goodies added before it is cooked and is just fried in slices. But I'll bet if you wanted to fry your loh bak goh in some nice home made lard it would be delicious! I say eat it with whatever you want, I'm partial to chilli and mustard myself but you always have to ask for mustard at the dim sum places I go. They don't bring it automatically. regards, trillium
  19. Ya'll are forgetting what makes carrot cake tasty... it's fried in lard! (Ok, maybe not at halal places). The S'porean version usually has eggs too, right? It's always a funny cross-cultural moment when I mention I could really go for some carrot cake and the S'porean's eyes light up until he realizes I mean you know, sweet cake made from red carrots. Which when you come to think of it, would have a hard time competing with chai tow kway. regards, trillium
  20. I like Karam even better then Nicholas. But if you make the drive just for Lebanese food, go at night when Mrs. Karam (not really her last name) is in the kitchen keeping an eye on things. Some of the best falafel in North America...but the other fancier stuff is good too (like the special kibbeh in yogurt). We cook so much we don't eat out often but Karam is on the rotation list of places to go when we do. Really good stuff. regards, trillium
  21. I make the black sesame soup by roasting the black sesame seeds first (and pick through them if you don't buy the pricier Japanese ones...stones and sticks like to hide) and grinding them in the blender, then adding water and sugar. While I cook it I thicken it with koh fun. Er, nor mai fun. I like it goopy. I don't like lard or whole rice in it but some people do that too. I've seen it thickened with just about anything, corn starch, arrowroot flour, etc. I'm still getting grey hairs though.... regards, trillium
  22. The taco trucks downtown are the worst in town. I've only tried about half of them, but... Given the quality of the other trucks, there's no point. The taco truck you go to hasn't been around in a while (the one on Powell and 30th or so). Know what's up? ← I'm not sure what you mean, Torres de Morelos, the truck on Powell and 30th is still there as of today. They're not there on Sundays, and sometimes take vacaciones, but that's all I know. regards, trillium
  23. Your broad bean paste will be just fine. I like making my ma po with just broad bean/chilli bean paste from Sichuan (do ban jian), even when I am making the Cantonese version, which is the style of recipe from hzrt8w. And I never add hoisin sauce, whether I'm making the original Sichuan or the Hunan or Cantonese variations. So you have a lot of flexibility. If your Sichuan peppercorns have not already been toasted, then you should toast them first and then grind them, but only the amount you'll use. Using whole ones that you grind yourself will always be tastier. good luck! trillium
  24. Over at our house, we love Land of Plenty too, and we've done quite a few of the dishes. (If you're curious, some photos are here. Not the step by step stuff Ah Leung does, just shots of the finished products.) We've started doing some of the Hunan recipes -- so far, we've done one of the versions of General Tso's chicken, a chicken and cilantro dish, a beef and potato stew, and home-style tofu. They've all been great (except the General Tso's, which wasn't quite so interesting). I do have to admit to liking Sichuan cooking more, possibly because of an addiction to Sichuan peppercorns, but also possibly because one unifying feature of Hunan cooking so far appears to be a complete lack of sugar, and I'm more adapted to having a bit of sweet with my spicy. On the other hand, I like black beans just fine, and so do they. That beef and potato stew, by the way, benefits from sitting overnight. We had it for lunches for a couple days afterward, and it just got better and better... That's funny because I'm loving the Hunan book more then the Sichuan book and maybe it's because I don't like sugar in my savory foods, even the spicy ones! I thought maybe I just find the Hunan book more inspiring because the pictures are spread out and near the recipes. I own "Land of Plenty" and have enjoyed nearly all the dishes I've made but the Hunan one makes me want to rush to the kitchen. I checked "Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook" out of the library (budget constraints) and the next day I made the second home style tofu recipe, the third day I made Mao's red cooked pork, but I used shoulder instead of belly and left out the caramel. We tried it with three variations, the deep fried garlic cloves, the deep fried water chestnuts and the rehydrated fu jook. Even the boy in the house loved the one with deep fried water chestnuts best (it's supposed to be the female's favorite). They were a revelation. I thought it was funny that the pork is supposed to make men brainy and women more beautiful. I guess us females are smart enough already. I had a temporary lull while we ate nasi lemak and beehoon with shrimp/pork dumplings but I'll have another crack at it soon. The first home style tofu recipe is on the menu for this week, but this time I'm cheating and using already fried tofu since it's a weeknight. regards, trillium
  25. Thanks, I wasn't sure because of dialectal differences but figured that's what it was. I don't have any Chinese butchers near me, but I do have a good American butcher who takes special orders. Maybe if I can figure out how to describe what I want he can get some for me. ← In the east coast, it gets called "outer flank" in butcher speak. regards, trillium
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