Thursday, May 20, 2004

My new home town It's far away. Too far to come and play. But I miss you

I go through phases of falling in and out of love with lots of blogs.

Right now though NoodlePie has me smitten.

It's the only website I can think of that makes me nostalgic and hungry all at once. The pictures are beautiful, the text is crisp and to the point, and together it makes me yearn to be in South East Asia again.

If you haven't already looked then I urge you to. It's a pretty simple concept. The writer tours the numerous eateries of Saigon tasting everything on offer. He then photographs it, reviews it and it's all there for us to see.

I love Vietnamese food. Since visiting I have been trying, with varying degrees of success, to recreate the chicken noodle soup that I lived on when I was there. It's beautiful, so full of fresh ingredients and it manages to taste hot, sweet and sour all at once.

When I make it I first stir fry little slivers of chicken. Then I add finely chopped garlic, chilies, ginger and shallots before adding salt, sugar, fish sauce and I throw in some shitaki mushrooms before adding stock (I wish I had the patience to make proper stock). Then I add some huge lumps of carrot and potato in order to make it into more of a meal. Just before the end, once all the veg is soft, I shred and add some Chinese cabbage.

You serve it by putting the noodles in the bottom of the bowl and you ladle the rest on top.

The best bits though are the fresh "leaves" thrown in as it is served. I go for basil, coriander, a few beansprouts and the sliced green ends of spring onions. If you squeeze a fresh lime over the top of this greenery before you add it to the soup then it adds another tasty dimension.

Then I serve it with some fresh chilies in fish sauce that you can chuck in if it isn't already spicy enough for you.

But much as much as I am proud of my own version, it doesn't taste quite the same as it does in Vietnam. Then again, seeing as I have only guessed at the recipe it's hardly surprising.

Most of Asia smells like fish sauce. You soon get used to it. In many ways, as pungent as it is, it acts as a fairly decent deoderizer and hides a multitude of sins from the occasional over flowing sewer to whiffy animals.

Anyway, check out NoodlePie, but try not to short out your keyboard by drooling over it.

And if you ever get the chance to go to Vietnam then I strongly recommend it. I absolutely, totally promise you will fall in love with the place.

I must must must go back one day.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.