Southern California boasts some great ethnic neighborhoods. Since we are cooking Asian at our cooking class this week, we ventured down to Little Saigon in Garden Grove on Saturday. In less than an hour, we were transported into an Asian adventure. Lunch was at Vietnamese favorite, Brodard Chateau.
Our six-course meal included Pork and Shrimp Spring Rolls, Roasted Duck Salad, Shaken Beef, which I think takes its name from the beef being shaken in a pan as it cooks, Glass Noodles with Crab Meat and Shrimp, Sizzling Sole served with Vermicelli and Asian Greens, Glass Noodles with Crab Meat and Shrimp and Seafood Clay Pot, which is a stir-fried rice baked in a pot with shrimp, scallops and crab (this was our least favorite dish because it had a bland taste). I found that the Vietnamese specialties we were served were very fresh and light – more so than other Asian cuisines.
After lunch we ventured on to the Thuan Phat Superstore, where we purchased ingredients for our Asian cooking class. I’ve been to this store many times before, but there are still so many unfamiliar Asian products. We look in amazement at all the choices.
While I’ve eaten the traditional Thai green papaya salad many times in Thailand and in Los Angeles, I had never actually seen the green papayas, which are much different from the red/orange fleshed papayas of Hawaii.
The tiny Thai bird chiles are colorful and piquant and give the salad it’s heat, while the tamarind pods offer a balance with it’s sour flavor.
There is an aisle filled with only rice noodles and rice paper wrappers.
The fish counter is unbelievable. Our red snapper with clear eyes is so fresh, you feel as though it was caught across the street. The men behind the counter will clean and cut it up for you any way you like.
I’m looking forward to cooking light Asian cuisine this week with my cooking buddies. The promise of Asian is Fresh Food in a Flash without all the calories!