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Aug 6, 2012 09:57 AM

What is that delicious lemongrass condiment at Pho Ao Sen? [Oakland]

We've never had/seen it before and it was a revelation. Finely sliced lemongrass that may be deep fried and them mixed in a chile/shrimp paste. We were eating straight out of the jar it was so good. But also great in pho. Our server said it's made by the boss. We bought an 8 oz tub for $5 to go. Is there a name for this delicious goo? Are there other versions worth trying?

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  1. I believe it is something similar to this recipe:

    I rave about it myself in this thread:

    2 Replies
    1. re: twocents

      Ah, that does sound similar---still no common name though! The diff is that at PAS, the lemongrass is finely sliced so that the end product looks like saffron filaments after it's cooked down. It's what convinced us to buy some---I can imagine the labor involved in slicing lemongrass so fine. At first we thought they were tiny anchovies. Plus the goo was perfectly balanced, which is no small feat. There's some heat but it's not overwhelming. I thought I detected the same flavors in my sis's Bun Bo Hue, and I'm glad to know that my senses are still working.

      1. re: twocents

        I believe that it could be considered "Satay Chiu Chow" or "Sa Te Trieu Chau" in a broad sense. You can buy this in jars in Asian markets, but most of the brands don't have as much lemongrass.

      2. I wish I could help you with a name, but I do agree that the stuff is amazing. Didn't know you could buy it to go. I would imagine it would last a long time in the fridge, correct?

        Thanks for reminding me to go back to Pho Ao Sen.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chompy

          It might last forever in the fridge. They do keep it on the tables at room temp, so I don't think it necessarily needs refrigeration.

        2. I usually hear everyone else refers to it as Ớt Sa-tế (satay chili sauce). The version that Andrea has on her website is very similar to how I make mine, except I use paprika instead of the chili sauce for coloring - you just have to remember to add paprika last and add it after you turn off the stove, then the color will stay bright. My shallot: garlic ratio is something like 5:1, sometimes I don't add garlic at all. I fry my lemongrass before I add the shallot.

          1. I buy it all the time there..