Edible South Florida Winter 2013 : Page 28

VIETNAM IF KOREAN FOOD IS RENOWNED FOR its fire, then Vietnamese food is perhaps best characterized by its finesse. People often say “fat is flavor,” but in Vietnamese cooking, much of the flavor comes not from fat, but from clean, clear extractions, the rounded umami of fish sauce, the brightness of fresh herbs and vegetables. There is perhaps no better example than a well-made bowl of pho, the noodle soup that could arguably be called the national dish of Vietnam. The heart of pho is the broth – typically a long-simmered brew of beef bones, charred onions and ginger, infused with spices. A big bowl will be filled with hot broth, rice noodles, slivered scallions and onions, and various cuts of beef, which can then be customized at the table with additions of fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime, chiles, hoisin, sriracha and fish sauce. ;ng[han^ For a change of pace, try Noodle House’s bun bo hue. The broth is amped up with lemongrass, chiles and shrimp paste, the noodles are a thick, round, udon-like variety, and the bowl comes stocked with crisp flank steak, a braised pork knuckle, slices of cha lua (a fine-grained pork sausage with a passing similarity to bologna) and cubes of congealed pork blood (actually quite mild-tasting, with a texture similar to tofu), topped with shredded cabbage and fragrant, woody banana blossoms. The menu gets rounded out by a customary selection of appetizers (various rice paper rolls, both fresh and fried); bun (noodle) dishes topped with grilled pork, shrimp or other items; fried rice dishes; stir fries; and bubble teas. As an alternative, you could pay a visit to Pho 78 in Pembroke Pines. Pho 78 is also a pho specialist; their broth runs perhaps a bit more hearty, a bit less clear than Noodle House's, but is every bit as satisfying. Their cha gio (fried spring rolls) have a delightful, shattering crispness, the flavors of the shrimp, pork and vegetable filling brightened by a swipe through the nuoc cham dipping sauce. Pho 78 also offers another specialty: banh mi, the Vietnamese take on a sub sandwich. A crisp baguette can be filled with a variety of different options – grilled pork or chicken, a fried egg, cha lua sausage, or all of the above. But it’s really the garnishes that make a banh mi special: lightly pickled carrot and daikon radish, slivers of cucumber and jalapeño, big sprigs of cilantro and mayo can brighten up any sandwich. Together with a salty lemonade or a bubble tea, it makes for an ideal lunch. THE HEART OF PHO IS THE BROTH – TYPICALLY A LONG-SIMMERED BREW OF BEEF BONES, CHARRED ONIONS AND GINGER, INFUSED WITH SPICES. Ghh]e^Ahnl^ --/*G'LmZm^KhZ]0 EZn]^k]Ze^EZd^l 2.-&-1.&/)02 Iah01 01-2Ibg^l;hne^oZk] I^f[khd^Ibg^l 2.-&212&/00) You can find such a well-made bowl of pho at Noodle House in Lauderdale Lakes. There are more than a dozen different variations to choose from, but unless you’re squeamish, the way to go is the “dac biet” (which loosely translates to “house special,” and often means “with everything”). The broth is translucent and golden-brown, with an intense but clean meaty flavor and the heady but not overwhelming aromas of star anise and cinnamon. The noodles are slick and soft, and the bowl is piled high with various beefy bits: slivers of rare steak; marbled fatty brisket; dark, crispy flank steak; fluffy meatballs; gelatinous tendon; nubby strips of tripe. KNOW YOUR ASIAN CUISINE KOREA Banchan – (or panchan) a variety of small dishes, often salads or pickles, served as an accompaniment to a meal. Bibimbap – literally, “mixed rice,” a dish of rice and vegetables mixed with chile paste, often with sliced beef and an egg. When served in a hot stone bowl, it’s “dolsot bibimbap.” Bulgogi – grilled marinated meat (usually beef, but can ;b[bf[Zi be chicken or pork); the marinade usually contains soy sauce, sugar, garlic and sesame oil, among other ingredients. Galbi – (or kalbi) short ribs, sliced thin for grilling, often marinated first with soy, garlic and other ingredients (sometimes sugar, fruit, fruit juices, or even canned sodas). Gochuchang – (or kochuchang) a fermented paste of Korean chiles, garlic, soy beans. Jeon – a savory pancake or omelet that can have a variety of fillings. Soondubu – Korean soft tofu, often used in stews with a variety of other ingredients. +1 ∙ winter 2013 ∙ edible SouthFlorida.com

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