Asian food count for the week: 2!
On Thursday, Cindy and I met up for pho and ice cream. Not just any ice cream, but Berthillon ice cream. Third time must be a charm, because it finally wasn't closed when I tried to go! As an added bonus, we were sacriligious and had ice cream before dinner, but this can be blamed on Berthillon's strange 8PM closing time.
Here's a closeup of the picture Cindy took of me holding our cones: fresh strawberry, peach, and almond:
We were admonished by the scooper for taking so long in making our selections, but hey, a winning combination must be carefully selected. And yes, Europe has awesome double ice cream cones. The scoops are much smaller than what Americans are used to, so I cropped the photo to give you a better idea of how the ice cream looked.. Still, you can see the corner of my huge grin as I posed these beauties for the camera. (You can see the actual grin on Cindy's site.)
(Oh, and in the middle of our ice cream, we wandered into a foie gras shop and had a sample between licks. It was actually a little too weird of a combination for me.)
Then we went up to Belleville and were admonished by another shopkeeper for lingering too long while we looked at soy sauce, teas, and dried goods at a Chinese supermarket. This seems to be a running theme, doesn't it?
I counted no less than 4 pho restaurants on a two block stretch outside the Belleville Metro station. Heaven! We ended up at Pho Dong Huong and each had a petit bowl of the soothing beef noodle soup. And petit here is pretty small. The large bowl looked about the size of a small back home, but I guess everything is French-portioned here. Still, it was authentic and I'm sure I'll be back unless I run into the two guys there who tried to pick us up. This was Asian food #1 for the week.
Asian food #2 was more of a Chinatown excursion.
Looking for a place for lunch, I saw a few good restaurants that served claypot rice, braised catfish, even red bean drinks! It was hard to choose, since part of me didn't want more Vietnamese again, even though the banh mi shops looked promising.
Then I saw the BBQ hanging in the window of a shop and decided that this would be lunch. And they spoke Cantonese! I had planned to pick up some char siu for dinner until I saw the man hacking roast ducks. The order quickly changed to roast duck over rice.
After he laid out the duck onto a bed of rice, he handed it to the cashier. She promptly ladled some kind of sauce over the duck, sauce that wasn't the usual flavored soy sauce they drain from the duck. Then she placed marinated carrots, cilantro, and cucumber on the rice. WHAT WAS SHE DOING???? Like most Asian shopkeepers, she moved too quickly for me to stop her.
Suddenly my roast duck wasn't what I expected, but I was too hungry to care. I found a table in the back and dug in after scraping off all the vegetables. The duck smelled fantastic- fragrant five spice powder, anise, soy sauce, sugar- and the coloring of the skin was awesome. Too bad the texture was off. There was a lot of unrendered fat under the skin that meant that the duck was cooked too quickly and the fat didn't have a chance to melt off. But it was decent enough that I still finished most of it, including some of the oddball Vietnamese vegetable garnishing.
Then it was shopping at the Asian supermarkets. Being the good Chinese girl that I am, I went into ALL of them. Here's what I emerged with:
The Grand Total: 12 Euros
I *heart* Chinatown.
- Teacup: I needed a mug and I needed a tea ball or strainer. The Chinese were smart enough to create a mug that had a strainer AND a lid, all for 3.50 Euros.
- Fried Wheat Cakes: these are basically deep fried puffs of wheat flour that are drowned in syrup. Usually there are sesame seeds on top, but these weren't bad. My grandma always had these stocked in her cupboard, and I would always try to sneak one in before dinner at her house.
- Shanghai Bok Choy: a green vegetable that I don't have to drown in butter or cream!
- Malted Hot Cereal: most people would probably find this gross, but it's a mixture of wheat cereal, malt, milk, and sugar. Add hot water and you get a nice watery breakfast. It's a guilty pleasure.
- Coconut Vitasoy: my favorite Vitasoy flavor, it's rich and coconut-y and oh-so-creamy.
- Silken Tofu: I'll steam it with a little green onion and ginger, then top with hot oil and seasoned soy sauce.
- Green Tea: can't live without this stuff. I saw genmaicha (toasted rice green tea) too late in another supermarket.
But then again, what else do I have to do?
Pho Dong Huong
14 Rue Louis-Bonnet
Tel. 01 43 57 42 81
Métro: Porte de Choisy or Porte d'Ivry