Thursday, September 29, 2011

Miến Xào Cua (Bean Thread Noodles with Crab)

My mom always likes to cook for me when I visit and this time she made miến xào cua (bean thread noodles with crab). I loved this dish when I tried it in Vietnam at the Crab Shack. I have to admit the crab meat wasn't as fresh as the crab in Vietnam but this dish was still a treat. How can you go wrong with noodles and crab?

Bean Thread Noodles with Crab

Miến Xào Cua (Bean Thread Noodles with Crab)

* 250 g bean thread noodles (or mung bean noodles)
* oil
* half an onion, sliced thinly
* 1 cup crab meat (or more!), picked through for leftover shell
* 1/2 tsp salt
* pepper, to taste
* 3 or 4 ladles of water, or broth
* 1 green onion, sliced into 1/2" sections
* coriander (optional)

Run dry noodles through water.
Cut noodles in smaller sections with scissors if they are very long.
Heat oil in a large pan or wok.
Add onion slices and white sections of onion, and sauté until softened.
Add the crab meat and mix in.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the noodles, mixing it in until the noodles soften.
If the noodles seem to dry out, add a ladle of water or broth.
Once noodles are nearly cooked, add green onions.
Taste the noodles, and adjust seasoning to taste.
Lower the heat and cover the noodles with a lid, cooking a further 5 minutes, until the noodles are cooked.
Garnish with coriander.

Bean Thread Noodles Sautéing crab
Adding the noodles Adding green onions
Miến Xào Cua (Bean Thread Noodles with Crab).

This dish is easy to make and a good alternative when you want a big bowl of carbs with a yummy accompaniment! It will have to do until I can get back to Vietnam and get my hands on fresh crab dishes!

Bean Thread Noodles with Crab

P.S. My mom served this with wonton soup as a starter and mango salad as a side (ooh, I thought I had a recipe for mango salad - will have to add it!).

Other bean thread noodles:
* Vietnamese Chicken Bean Thread Noodle Soup
* Vegetarian Bean Thread Noodles

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Brit & Chips (Montréal, QC)

433 McGill
Montréal, Québec

Still hanging out in Montréal, my sister, her hubby and myself headed for Brit & Chips on a Friday after a hard class of boot camp at Parc LaFontaine. It was a beautiful night. Unfortunately, all the seats outside were taken so we had to find a table inside.

Brit and Chips

You can order for take-out at the cash or they will take your order at your table if you eat in. The restaurant had an old school, fish 'n chips place, with different sea adornments, like a life float. The fried food is also on newspaper, as it should!

Brit and Chips Brit and Chips

My sister L and I decided to quench our thirst with imported drinks. L got the bitter shandy ($1.50), described by our waitress as a mix of beer and tea. I ordered the Irn Bru ($1.50), which was a sweet drink reminiscent of cream soda. Yum! A perfect accompaniment to the fried food that was coming!

Imported Drinks
Imported drinks: Bitter Shandy and Irn Bru.

D ordered fish and chips ($11.50), choosing the haddock as his fish of choice. The haddock was covered in a maple syrup batter. Each fish has its own batter; for example, the salmon uses a Guinness batter and the hake an Orange Crush batter (gulp! L and I weren't sure if we'd like that). Both fries and fish were freshly fried and crispy.

Haddock and Chips

L gave me the reigns when it came to ordering for us so I decided to order various nibbles and share. After much deliberation and consultation with the waitress, we decided to go for various small bites from the "Nibbles" section of the menu and ordered the Tandoori Popcorn Shrimp ($6), the spicy whitebait ($4), the salted cod fish cakes - or accras de morue ($6) and a side of mushy peas ($1.50). Oh, and we also had to have our own serving of chips ($3), of course!

Various nibbles & Mushy peas Tandoori Popcorn Shrimp
Spicy whitebait Accras de morue
Various nibbles from the sea, top left - clockwise: (1) chips, cod fish cakes and mushy peas, (2) popcorn shrimps, (3) fried whitebait and (4) flaky accras de morue.

My favourite of the nibbles was the flaky accras de morue. I just can't resist the combination of salty fish and potatoes, deep fried into fish cake goodness! The popcorn shrimp was good but the Tandoori flavour wasn't apparent on the shrimps. Rather the flavours came from the curried mayo. Lastly, ordering the fried whole whitebait was a risky move; they were a bit fishy for our tastes but good nonetheless. And no complaints in the chips department! L was happy to have malt vinegar available to soak hers in!

Brit & Chips offers a really good selection for fish and chips. A vegetarian option is even offered, with fried haloumi stepping in for the fish (L and I were tempted - maybe next time!). It also offers British fare that could be interesting to try out, such as Scotch egg, pasties and deep-fried "Whatever" in the soda section. It reminds me of when I was in London, England. I thought having fish 'n chips was a must experience and wasn't sure if it was part of the experience that the pub reeked of urine...

Brit & Chips on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Biztrot Crêperie & Gelateria (Brossard,QC)

6705 boulevard Chevrier, local 103
Brossard, Québec
Facebook page

The last time I visited Montréal, my mom's husband H took us out to his friend's newly opened crêperie. It's hard to turn down a crêpe so we stopped there for lunch to try some out.

Biztrot Crêperie

H ordered the ham and cheese panini ($7.50) and seemed to enjoy it. My mom ordered the chicken, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes panini ($8.50). I had a bite - the large pieces of chicken were very well seasoned and there was a generous amount of sun-dried tomatoes, which made it a great savoury sandwich.

Ham and Cheese Panini Chicken, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes
Ham and chicken paninis.

I stuck with the specialty, ordering a crêpe with apples ($6.50). It was made up of an oversize crêpe folded and filled with large chunks of apples. It was topped of with powder sugar and raspberry sauce.

crêpe with apples crêpe with apples
Crêpe aux pommes.

The sweet proprietress insisted that we try some gelato and sorbet. The most memorable one was the Ferrero Rocher. If you enjoy Ferrero Rocher, how can you go wrong with Ferrero Rocher gelato?

Gelato selection

If I lived closer by (on the South Shore of Montréal), I would definitely be visiting Biztrot. It is currently in a rather unassuming spot where nearby store have not yet opened up. However, I would rather stop by for a crêpe for breakfast, rather than the breakfast chains out there. They also offer savoury crêpes and specialty coffees, as well as a daily soup. Check it out if you're nearby!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tung Hing Café & Sweets (Hamilton, ON)

103 Queen Street North
Hamilton, Ontario

I've been living in Hamilton for over 10 years but have never been able to enjoy a bánh mì. Enter the new Asian grocery store a stone's throw from my place and the adjacent Café.

Tung Hing Café & Sweets Tung Hing Café & Sweets
Tung Hing Café & Sweets - shelves of Asian sweets.

Tung Hing Café offers typical Asian fares: little cakes, pizza buns, spring rolls and sesame balls. Customers grab a tray and serve themselves with tongs. Bring the tray to the cash and they will bag the treats for you. My favourite item has to be the sesame balls. They are always crispy, a good mark of freshness and come in two flavours: lotus and red beans. Try it out if you've never had it!

Coconut sweets, vegetable spring rolls and sesame rolls (2 for $1.10).

While I can easily get distracted by the display of sweets, it's the bánh mì (Vietnamese subs) that are the real stars here. A variety of bánh mì 's are offered (unfortunately, I was stopped from taking pictures), my favourites being the gà nướng (grilled chicken) and nem nướng (pork patties), which was translated as pork with honey I think. These subs were around $3.25. They also have a vegetarian selection with tofu and vegetables.

IMG_2356 (1024x768)
Bánh mì nem nướng (pork patty sub).

The meat is served in a crusty Vietnamese baguette. A bit of homemade mayo is slathered on the bread, with pickled carrots and daikon, cucumbers, coriander and if you like it spicy, green chilies.

IMG_2359 (1024x768) IMG_2357 (1024x768)
Pork patty and grilled chicken Vietnamese sub.

If you've never had Vietnamese subs and you live in Hamilton, this is a great place to try them. At less than $4, it's a very affordable option for lunch. I grabbed a couple for my train ride back to Montréal.