Most cooks know what mirepoix, soffritto, and the Holy Trinity are...but kroueng? That's a little less likely. The answer is that it's a variety of aromatic flavor pastes used in Khmer cooking, such is in these delicious beef skewers that I learned from my Chinese-Cambodian mother-in-law. Here, I did my best to recreate the original flavor of her recipe using more readily available ingredients. The good news: She approves.
'Southeast Asian' on Serious Eats
It's a well known fact that the best Asian food in the DC area lies outside of DC proper. That's why it's worth the drive to Falls Church, a destination for cooking from all over Southeast Asia, from the Vietnamese haven of Eden Center to Thai groceries with tiny (excellent) takeout counters.
In restaurant circles, the dreaded F-word—fusion—is usually reserved to describe some sort of disparate multi-culti combination, like sauce soubise on top of tamales. But in the case of Filipino food, there's no stronger term to capture the essence of Asia's most unique, idiosyncratic, and underrated culinary tradition.
Quick and easy one-pot rice noodles with a fragrant curry sauce, tender poached shrimp, and bok choy.
Chicken and shrimp are loaded with flavor from a searing Southeast Asian chili sambal.
Try a taste of Chinese Zi Char cooking at home. Shrimp paste marinated chicken is twice-fried for crunchy golden goodness.
Barbecue chicken wings are a street food favorite in Singapore, and Singaporean hawkers do it right.
The Southeast Asian inflected food at East Village newcomer Ducks Eatery is adventurous and playful without being overwrought. I stopped in last week to see what a meal of their small plates would look like.
Some call what comes out of the kitchen at Singapura "Asian fusion." While the dishes do draw on ingredients and preparations from a wide swatch of the continent, including India, Thailand, Malaysia, and the provinces of China home to the Hakka people, they represent, according to the menu, what's made by housewives and hawkers in Singapore. Singapura offers an excellent introduction into this multifaceted cooking culture.
Joe DiStefano, the voice behind Edible Queens' World's Fare blog, has been putting his outer borugh street cred to use guiding cooks, food celebrities, and tourists through some of Queens' most fascinating neighborhoods. We followed him on a recent tour of some amazing bites in Flushing and nearby Elmhurst.
For years, Chinese in Chelsea has meant Grand Sichuan, with its spicy authenticity and frenzied vibe. A block or so away, Chop Shop offers peace, calm, and fusion.
Pan-Asian cuisine can be a gamble at best. The flavors of China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia—all of which make an apperance on Wong's menu, sometimes in a single dish—are so diverse that more often than not, endeavors like this end in confusion rather than triumph. For the most part, Wong avoids the typical pratfalls of overzealous menus, serving food that's incredibly fresh, refined, carefully thought-out for the most part, and reasonably priced even when it's not.
It's that time of year again. My annual plug for durian, the oft-maligned, odoriferous fruit beloved in Southeast Asia and beyond. Usually, my advice to durian novices is to select a fruit with the least-pungent smelling odor you can find since different kinds of durian will range from mildly cheesy-smelling to gym-locker-stench-evoking. Durian smoothies are a treat on a hot summer's day. You might even get a few durian converts if you serve the fruit in smoothie form, which offers a milder kick of that distinctive cheesy taste.
Done right, turmeric an ingredient that can change the way you cook ethnic food. The aroma is intense: earthy, pungent, redolent of dried citrus peel and dusty streets soaked in sunlight. The flavor, though subtler, warms the tongue, the missing link between black pepper and chile. After tasting the real deal, one automatically understands why the food of over a billion people is stained with it.
Sweet beverage drinkers can be divided into two camps: those like bubble tea and those who don't. Fans relish a sweet slurp mixed with mildly flavored chewy orbs; detractors regard the innocent pearls as nuclear caviar that should never cross human lips. If you're in the second camp, maybe we can still be friends, but I've got nothing for you this week. If, on the other hand, you like your beverages on the chewy side, basil seed is just for you.
Pandan's fragrance is distinct but hard to identify. It's sweet and bright, like an herby bubble gum, or licorice without the bite. Though used mostly in sweets, it's also found in some savory dishes, wrapping meats before grilling or steaming.
Khanom Chan lie totally outside the Western dessert canon, and can be a refreshing change-up from more typical desserts. To the uninitiated, the texture's a surprise, like the chewy tapioca pearls in bubble tea or elastic balls of mochi. Its...