Wow. Just wow. You know, you have to be careful with expectations when you travel. Sometimes you build things up so much in your mind and expect the food and ingredients to be so much better than what you've had that you set yourself up for disappointment. I am here to tell you that I fully believe that is impossible to do with this Bánh Mì in Hội An. It. Is. Amazing. But be forewarned...so amazing it may ruing all other Bánh Mì for years to come.
Chef Martin Yan...renowned chef, cookbook author and cooking show personality extraordinaire has recently opened a new restaurant in the Dome Collection at the Westfield San Francisco Shopping Center. I know, mall restaurant doesn't typically scream fabulous food and atmosphere, but trust me, M.Y. China is an exception. The atmosphere is fun, lively and entertaining and the food is to die for. Seriously...To. Die. For. Eating at M.Y. China makes you feel like you are eating from an authentic stall in the streets of China. And for a gastronomic traveler like me, that's a real compliment. No Americanized Chinese food here...fresh flavors, beautiful colors and authentic spices and ingredients. Hungry yet? All right then...let's take a little i-Phone enabled photo journey through M.Y. China!
First up, house-made spicy green papaya pickles! We love green papaya salad that is so common in Thai food, but this was a nice tangy twist on green papaya as we know it. Perfect to snack on throughout the entire meal to add a bit of acidity between courses.
Next, Wild Boar Juicy Dumplings. Served piping hot...so the hardest part is letting them cool down a bit before popping them into your mouth. If you've never had juicy dumplings before, it's important that you eat the whole thing in one big bite so when the delicious juicy filling squirts out you capture it in your mouth instead of all over your face! Gingery, garlicky goodness. Delish.
We followed our juicy dumplings with Dan Dan Noodles. An amazing, traditional Chinese dish that has chilled noodles flavored with a delicious mix of vegetables, pork, peanuts, Szechuan pepper and chili-garlic oil. Makes your lips all tingly and your fork keep digging back in for more. I could eat this every day of the week.
This is one of our absolute favorite slow cooker recipes. It is so flavorful and strangely addictive. You know you should only have one serving, but your fork just keeps dipping back into that crock pot as you're "cleaning the kitchen." It's originally from the magazine Real Simple and to be honest we keep it pretty close to the original recipe, but we have made a few adjustments. Mostly adding more bok choy and increasing the seasonings a tad. The recipe also indicates that it only serves 4, but we stretch it to at least 6 servings if not 8. With the rice it is a bit filling so you really don't need much. But as I said, addictive...so you'll eat more than you should, beware!
What really triggered this dish though, was Clorox's recent acquisition of the Soy Vay company...who just happens to make my absolute favorite store bought teriyaki sauce - Veri Veri Teriyaki. While I was very familiar with the teriyaki sauce, I was less familiar with their other marinades. So when I was poking around the freezer and saw a beef chuck pot roast in there I decided it was as good of a time as any to try one out....served alongside creamy grits and spicy bok choy and you have yourself a delicious Sunday Dinner!
I can't believe I haven't written about Noodle Theory yet. I almost cried when the one in my neighborhood went out of business and now I have a hard time eating anywhere else when I find myself near the one location in Rockridge. So to be clear, I LOVE Noodle Theory. I think my love is two-fold. First and foremost, I am kind of obsessed with noodles, especially when served in a soup. I crave them at least weekly...particularly Udon, but really any noodle with an Asian-inspired broth will do. Second, I don't like to feel guilty about my noodles. So greasy noodles with poor quality meat or barely identifieable vegetables just won't do. I like my noodles to be dressed up with high-class, respectable ingredients.
You would think in a city like San Francisco with such an deep Asian history and influence, noodles like this would be pretty easy to find. But I tell you, that just isn't true. I still haven't found a go-to place since the Noodle Theory in the Marina closed! So my noodle craving often goes unsatisfied...unless I make them myself which still just isn't the same.
This is a yummy vegetarian dish and only takes about 30-35 minutes from start to finish, so great for a week night