Salad with Shredded Pork, Rice Noodles and Spring rolls at Au Petit Cafe.
What with the short (and grey) days, the perpetual deluge of rain and the recently arrived Visa bills, it would seem that the January blahs have truly set in. And, from where I’m sitting, there is no better way to ward them off then to dip one’s toe into the fresh, exotic flavours of far away lands. In Vancouver we are blessed with a plethora of ethnic culinary opportunities. Whether one is looking to dine out, shop for unique ingredients or simply peruse a seemingly endless selection of cookbooks ….. this city offers an abundance of tasty options.
My new favourite restaurant of the day is a mere 10 minute drive from my home. Au Petit Café serves up some of the finest Vietnamese food in town, consistently fresh, colourful, delicious and downright transporting. Each dish delivers a complex and delightful combination of bright flavours and textures. I suspect it will be years before I manage to work through their full menu, if ever.
Vietnamese Sandwich with Chicken and all the Fixin’s at Au Petit Cafe.
If one prefers to cook at home, attempting to create dishes from anywhere in the world is easier than ever. Cookbooks from the library, countless websites, t.v cooking shows and even cooking classes for the truly ambitious all help any home cook to achieve excellent results.
Today’s recipe is a simple Vietnamese Salad. Quick to prepare and refreshing to eat, it serves well as a side or would also make a fine meal, with the addition of grilled chicken, hard boiled eggs or shredded pork.
Vietnamese Salad (my own effort)
1/2 c peanuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
1 small head Chinese leaf lettuce (about 4-5 cups), thinly sliced
4 medium carrots, grated or juliened on a mandoline slicer
1 c cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
4 T fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 c fresh cilantro
1/2 c radishes, thinly sliced
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T brown sugar
1 T rice vinegar
juice of 2 limes
1 T fish sauce
3 T vegetable oil
Put the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Set aside. For the salad, add all of the vegetables to a large bowl, except for the cilantro. Drizzle with the dressing and toss. Serve in individual salad bowls. Scatter each serving with the roughly torn cilantro and peanuts.