Bham - Que Huong
After recent chatter here and from others in town, I had a hankerin' for the beef and jalapenos and maybe something new and exciting from Red Pearl. Well when I got there last night, the only thing new to me was that the restaurant is closed Monday nights. When I asked the younger woman at the front counter about specials per a comment here, she handed me a menu and said to return some other time b/c it was closed. No idea as to specials. Ahhh, i need someone to interpret!
Was thinking of trying Gordos but wanted to eat in and read a book so I headed over to Que Huong for some pho and summer rolls. Both were great, summer rolls definitely hand rolled - I want to try to start making those myself. I assume I can find the right ingredients at the Super Oriental Mkt or the mkt on 7th Ave S? Peanut dipping sauce was interesting but too thick so I cut it with Sriracha. Sometimes a problem I have with Pho is the heavy handedness of star anise. No such problem here - you could taste it but it was not over-powering. I had the Pho with beef round and brisket. I used to get the Dac Biet which included those cuts plus the tendons and tripe but they sort of creep me out now, consistency-wise. The few Pho places I have been before provided more ingredients to add (two slivers of jalapeno) but they were fine here. I am also used to the meat coming out separately and you add it to suit your tastes rather than all of it already in the soup. Whatever, it was perfect for a cold night while reading (although I am lucky I didn't get pho all over the book).
Aside from the banh mi, what else do you recommend there?
We must have just missed each other last night! I, too, went to Red Pearl, only to make the same discovery (although I got some pretty meaty-looking pork belly I plan to roast at home tonight or tomorrow). I should have gone to Pho Que Hong as well, but more on that later.
At Que Hong, both the seafood and the beef phos are very good. I've come to like the squid, shrimp and quail egg version. The No. 1 (the aforementioned beef with tendons and tripe) remains No. 1 with me, though. They also do a very good seafood pan-fried noodles (I get the thin noodles fried).
I hereby nominate the spring roll as the best in town. It's full of meat and crispy but not greasy. I bypass the sweet sauce they serve it with and use Sriracha sauce to dip it.
Instead, I went to Ginza last night. It's my second time and I still don't fully get the fuss. What I had was good, but way overpriced. I got two appetizers, the spicy squid legs and the grilled fish. Both were good, but the fish was the only one worth the money ($5 and $6, respectively). I also ordered Tendon, the Japanese rice bowl with tempura. It included only two pieces of tempura shrimp, an egg and a couple of reconstituted dried mushrooms. $10.95. It was good, authentic even with the barely-set egg providing a sauce.
Part of my problem is I went alone (the vegetarian wife and two omnivore kids were busy), so I didn't get the chance to take advantage of the Korean table-top grill dishes. But at $18-$22 each (two orders required), those struck me as overpriced, too.
The sushi menu looked interesting and it had some pretty decent prices on them, too. Next time I'll either take a few people or go to gorge on sushi.
Thanks Barb and Bigdaddy for the suggestions. Will give them a shot.
I got to Red Pearl right around 6 PM. Not sure if I will try to go back tonight or not. Hmmm "salted crispy squid" - I assume that is salt and pepper squid? Maybe later in the week.
Sometimes I like tendon, sometimes not. It just depends. Trip can be iffy. I'm not afraid to try anything once for the most part but that doesn't mean I will try it again. I have consistency issues and tendon and tripe both trigger them.
I have no idea if I ordered the spring or summer rolls. The rolls I ordered were not fried and looked mostly like this:
Those are the summer rolls. And yes, they are easy to make at home. Most of the supplies should be at the market on 7th, or in the Asian market near Que Hong, by the Purple Onion.
You'll need rice paper, mung bean thread noodles (they come in small packs, several in a red or pink mesh bag), fresh cilantro, cooked and peeled shrimp, optional roast pork and bean sprouts. You also can substitute out the meat for baked or extra firm tofu (but marinate the latter) for a vegetarian variation.
Soak the noodles in water until they're soft and cut them with kitchen shears into thirds. Soften the rice paper in a container with water that's wide enough to hold the whole round, or gently soften them under warm running water.
Lay the noodles across the middle of the rice paper, leaving a little room at the 3 and 9 oclock positions. Top with the other items (some people slice the shrimp in half. Then fold the 6oclock end over the noodles, etc, fold in the 3 and 6 sides, then roll up and seal with some water. If you're going to wait to serve, put them in some plastic wrap.
It's a great hot-weather food. It's also a great party food.
Re: The salted crispy squid. Yes it is a form of salt and pepper squid. I've had it and it's quite good. I also like the squid in garlic sauce there at Red Pearl. Every time I've had squid there it's been perfectly cooked.