Sunday, May 31, 2009

Last Asian Heritage Month Post

I'm as always a little late posting but I am getting this in on the last day of May so it is still officially Asian Heritage Month! My last informal poll showed me that people have really varied tastes, which is wonderful! Some people had distinct favorites while others talked more specifically of favorite dishes in each cuisine. So to commemorate the month, I'll end it with a whole smorgasbord of Asian food goodness.

I start off with a picture of a royal Korean feast. Yeah, this is not for peasants. You gotta be royalty to eat this good - or just have a lot of money. The one thing about eating a really good authentic Korean meal is the panchan - which means little side dishes. You can see an assortment of panchan on this table set for one. Yeah - this is a meal fit for a king. But for all the fame of Korea's ubiquitous barbecued meat dishes, here you see it is really all about the seafood. Sashimi plates on one end and marinated roe on the other. And lots and lots of marinated or pickled vegetables. There are also several dishes of Korea's world famous kimchee in various preparations.

Copyright by KaiChanVong via Creative Commons license

Next, we go to China and have some dim sum. Who doesn't like dim sum? My personal favorites are, Cha siu baau - Cantonese barbecue pork buns, and sesame balls. I can literally stuff my face silly on the stuff. Oldest wanted me to mention that her absolute favorite Chinese dish is Peking Duck. This reminded me of growing up in NY and my parents taking us to Chinatown once a month for our big family dinner. Luckily, my dad can read Chinese so we always ordered off the Chinese menu and not the watered down English menu.
Copyright by jasonlam via Creative Commons license

My Dad would order Cantonese Crab and snails in blackbean sauce. I can almost smell the fresh steamed crab in that amazing sauce. I can hear the loud crowded restaurant and the clanging of pots in the kitchen - the din of the diners and the people waiting on the long line out the door and up into the street. Ah memories. Ah drool slobbering down the side of my mouth and pooling into my crotch area making me look like I have peed myself.

Next time I'm up to see my folks, I think we gotta go back down memory lane so I can stop drooling.


Copyright by natmandu via Creative Commons license

Now let's fly to Vietnam, or for me at least, the Eden Center strip mall in Northern Virginia which is nowhere near as glamorous but where you can get the best Vietnamese food on the East Coast. Green papaya salad and baby clam rice hot pot are my go to faves. And for the best noodle soup in the world, I go to Pho 75 in Rockville for my Pho with eye of round steak and fatty brisket. A little bit of Srichacha sauce and I guarantee you that chicken soup has nothing on what I consider the best soup in the world.


Copyright by Allan Reyes via Creative Commons license

I have to say that the most underappreciated Asian cuisine has got to be Filipino food. People have no idea what they are missing. Our babysitter makes lumpia - Filipino egg rolls - that are so good that my kids shove 3 at a time in their mouths. Little piggies. Last time, she made 40 lumpia. Me and Da Man were sure there would be some when we got back. We were wrong.

I wish I could share with you a good picture of Filipino lechon, but every picture I found had the pig's head staring back at me, which made me feel very cannibalistic. So all I can tell you is that if you ever have the opportunity to be invited to a Filipino dinner where they are making lechon, you are one lucky SOB. You never had roast pork this good til you try it - with the skin. Pig never tasted so good. And if you want to see more Filipino delights, you have to check out Moonrat's post here.


Copyright by Reesie via Creative Commons license

I saved one of my absolute favorites for last because anyone who knows me knows I go absolutely crazy for good Indian food. There is this amazing restaurant in Bethesda called Passage to India that makes me weep from Indian goodness. Their garlic naan with cilantro is so good I have nearly bitten Da Man's hand off when he tries to take the last piece. At any good Indian place, I love Chicken Vindaloo, Lamb Curry and Aloo Gobhi (potatoes and cauliflower - and the only way I will ever eat cauliflower and like it!). But what makes me swoon are the grilled lamb chops and their Baingan Bharta - roasted eggplants with stewed onions and tomatoes. So if you come to the DC area and want good Indian - think Bethesda... and give me a call!

I have not covered all the cuisines. I didn't even have time to cover Thai food or Malayasian food or Japanese food (although I did sushi last time so that's ok). But I have run out of time and I regretfully have to say goodbye to May and Asian Heritage month. I hope you all have enjoyed it as much as I have! And remember to try out different types of cuisine and be a little adventurous with food. You never know what you might end up falling in love with.

And I know that I have not covered all the best of Asian food. So feel free to share with me a favorite of yours! Whoever makes me drool the most wins!

20 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Some of that looks like stuff they'd serve on Star Trek, Ello. I'd love to give it a try.

Christina Farley said...

Oh these look fabulous. You are making me hungry and I just finished lunch! What a spread.

Kim Kasch said...

Love the crab :) but don't think I could ever do the snails :(

Whirlochre said...

My initial reaction was wow, I just want to stick my head in that stuff — which is, of course, silly. I'd suffocate.

So then I got to thinking. How about an all-body protective suit like David Bowie wore in The Man Who Fell To Earth? And all the food is heaped up in a giant cylinder hundreds of stories tall? And then I leap into it in my protective suit, and freefall?

Ok Ok, I'll settle for regular nibbling.

Kappa no He said...

Oh, man, I look what you made me do, I now have a this pool of drool all in my crotch area...

I just learned about real Vietnamese food in the last couple years. Very good. I think I adore all Asian food. I just now realized.

t

Kate said...

Some of this looks really nice :)

moonrat said...

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[weeping with grief that these are only pictures]

laughingwolf said...

all great stuff, el... EXCEPT the cilantro... i GAG on that soap-tasting garbage :(

Anonymous said...

Somehow that chicken wrap for lucnh today just didn't quite cut it.

Could be a pho kind of night!

Da' Man

pacatrue said...

I love how your focus in Asian Heritage Month is food, food, food, Ms. Eato. (Yes, I am the same.)

McKoala said...

My cheese sandwich just isn't tasting good right now.

As for a favourite Asian cuisine. Tough, tough call, but I suspect I'd go with Indian. Chicken Dhansak and Sag Aloo being my faves, with a little rice and a peshwari naan. Oh, yum.

bluesugarpoet said...

Mmmmm! My favorite cuisine!
Just about any Asian dish makes me drool, and I especially love mu shu pork. On the Indian side, tandoori chicken is yummy. But there is nothing like eating freshly made gyoza straight out of the pan at my best friend's house.

Mary Witzl said...

Oh hell -- I wish I hadn't seen this!

I'm on a diet and I look pretty good in my swimming suit just now (comparatively speaking). Honestly, I wish I hadn't seen this.

What I'm REALLY craving is unagi, or eel. Everybody in Japan eats eel when it gets hot, and it's VERY hot here. I need unagi!!

writtenwyrdd said...

Mmmm...lumpia! And double-mmmmm... bbq pork buns!

And pad thai and naan bread with lentils and so many good things I cannot get up in the Great White North (becasue we have no ethnic restaurants except for generic Chinese that serve baked potatoes, steak and hamburgers!)

Nandini said...

Bad Ello! I'm so HUNGRY now. And so sick of rushed-after-baseball/ softball-game dinners. I need some real food!!!!

Steve Malley said...

Put me down for two of everything!

Freakin' delicious!! :D

J. L. Krueger said...

El,

You made me very hungry with this post! I'm so looking forward to eating food again...messhalls, no matter how good, don't count!

Colleen_Katana said...

Oh my god...I'm so hungry now. Diet be damned.

I was always pretty good (and still am) at trying anything once. Snails, squid, alligator, turtle soup, chicken feet...you name it and I've probably tried it. But Pho is the secret weapon if you have a cold. Amazing stuff.

Barrie said...

Drat. I didn't realize May was Asian Heritage month. And I have an Asian in the family. Hm....we might just celebrate in June. I mean, what's a month?! Great photos of food. Now I'm hungry!

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