Bánh Xèo…My Favorite Vietnamese Snack

Roll it up, dip it and enjoy!

Before I even got to Vietnam I was super excited about trying bánh xèo...a sizzling savory fried pancake filled with pork, shrimp, herbs, mung beans and sometimes other fun twists depending on the region.  You know that sounds right up SavoryGirl's alley! Not only did I eat a lot of great bánh xèo while traveling through Vietnam but I was lucky enough to actually learn how to make it during my cooking class in Hội An...so lucky for you I'm sharing the recipe here. This recipe serves 4-8 as an appetizer and for some of the harder to find ingredients I would try your local Asian market...none of the ingredients are too rare. Enjoy...sizzle, sizzle!
The Bánh Mì to End All Bánh Mì
Our Banh Mis about to get taken down...with beer...at 10:30 in the morning

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.
M.Y. China – Yan Really Can Cook!

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.

Turkey-Jasmine Rice Meatballs with Baby Bok Choy

This is an oldie but a goodie...we've been making it for at least 7 years so I guess it's become one of our own over time.  I'm not even sure where it originally came from.  I think a healthy cooking magazine, maybe Cooking Light or something along those lines...but I'm pretty sure we've not only adjusted the ingredients but also the cooking method over the years.  Either way, hope you enjoy this favorite of ours as much as we do.  Light, healthy and delicious Asian-inspired flavors.
Sweet & Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder with Bok Choy

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!

Asian Inspired Pot Roast Dinner

A strange intersection between my corporate life and my passion for food inspired this extremely successful Sunday dinner - and that compliment is coming from Christian who typically hates pot roast!. I don't know if I've ever mentioned it on my site before, but I run the Consumer Affairs department for The Clorox Company.  So how does a bleach company inspire food?  Well, Clorox actually owns 30+ brands...from Brita water filtration to Glad trash and food storage bags to Hidden Valley Dressings and KC Masterpiece BBQ sauces to Burt's Bees.  So there's some food mixed in there...not your typical SavoryGirl type food, but food nonetheless.

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!  
Noodle Theory

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.
Beef Tataki
This is one of our favorite summer beef dishes simply because it's light and Asian inspired. Often beef dishes come along with heavy seasonings and/or heavy sides but this is light and fresh...perfect for the heat. The recipe comes from our Eating Well in Season cookbook, but you can find it re-printed on line here. We often find the Beef Tataki on it's own to be a bit light for dinner, so we'll usually make some kind of DIY Asian-inspired noodles to serve on the side. To keep it even simpler you could just serve the noodles plain underneath the Beef Tataki...delicious and easy dinner, either way. Enjoy!
Chinese Steamed Fish

This is a super easy and delicious way to prepare white fish so it’s healthy and flavorful.  Great for weeknights!  We often serve it with bok choy or broccoli cooked with a bit of sesame oil & sprinkled with sesame seeds (although we did roasted Rapini tonight) and some kind of whole grain.