Eating around…Part I: Westminster/Rowland Heights
I eat a lot…I just realized how much I eat. And if I have enough people to come eat with me…I turn our dining excursion into a sampling of whatever restaurant/place we are eating at. I actually prefer to do it that way since I am one of the most indecisive person you will EVER meet when it comes to food. One minute, I’ll be craving for Thai food, then Mexican next, followed by a sudden urge for Greek, and then maybe perhaps the non-distinguishable American cuisine just because. How can a girl be so fickle?!?! I don’t know either and I’ve been asking myself this for years.
I’ve been eating around and I’ve been taking like a gazillion pictures, but
lazy busy me has not done a single post on ANY of the meals that I’ve so enjoyed. That is why I will be making a 3 part rehash of what has entertained my palate to my delight.
Despite the chaotic and confusing fickleness of my food desires, when an urge for a certain cuisine or type of food strikes me and it’s conveniently in front me, I hesitate not to get it ASAP. So when I was shopping with my family at the Asian Garden mall in Westminster, where a plethora of dining options was offered, I did what any person would do at a mall – shop around for food. After going around the central dining area twice, I found one thing that I really wanted: meat on a stick…
…actually make that TWO. Top to bottom: pork meatballs and pork sui mai.
Between the two offerings on a stick…the meatballs won by a long shot! So let’s start with the loser: the sui mai. I felt that the sui mai was just the same, but more bland meatball that was wrapped in wonton skin. And since the woman who got me these puppies went and heated the sui mai in the microwave, it probably was sitting on the “steam tray” for some time. Did I feel like I wasted my money on this one? Why yes…yes I did.
Thank goodness the meatballs came and saved my lunch day! These little unassuming beauties packed just the right flavors that I remember oh so well of a family friend of ours, who is Vietnamese, and they make some mean skewered pork when they throw parties. The meatballs were well seasoned, the saltiness was balanced with the sweet sauce that was squirted on it, and the chili sauce gave it a spicy punch that I just couldn’t get enough of! I love spicy foods to the point where I don’t think it’s quite that healthy but you live only once right?!
The meatballs did have fillers of vermicelli and carrots, but I think this helped make them less dense, thus easier to eat. MmmMm…good!
My little sister was craving some Bun with eggrolls; and after walking with me around the dining area, she still could not decide which place she wanted her noodles from so I just decided for her by sitting down at a table. The table “belonged” to the stand that was next to the place where I bought my food. A lady behind the counter came with the menu and placed it in front of us when I chose the spot to sit, thus effectively making the decision to eat there.
Little sister ordered the Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuoung (spring rolls & grilled pork with lettuce on rice vermicelli):
While my mother ordered a Bun Bo Hue (I believe, please correct me if I’m wrong):
I loved different aspects of each of these 2 buns. The grilled pork from my little sister’s Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuoung was tender, nicely marinated and was sweet but not too sweet. And my mother’s Bun Bo Hue’s broth was delicious. The broth had so much flavor depth that it reminded me somewhat of my mother’s homemade soups that would take an entire day of simmering on low heat to get all the flavors of the meats and vegetables into the soup. I wish I knew what it was exactly that was in the broth that made it taste the way it did because it was nothing I’ve ever tasted before. I don’t understand flavor, but I know that I loved it. Definitely not your average MSG laden Pho broths.
So with our tummies full, we continued to shop throughout the hot, humid day. I hated the weather and cannot conceive why anyone would like to live there other than to have copious amounts of Asian food at their finger tips. That is why towards the late afternoon, while we were in Rowland Heights, I suggested going to Phoenix to have a cool treat.
Coconut Taro Tapioca Drink — sounded good, but it was more milk than anything and I HATE straight milk. If I drink straight milk, it will make me sick for the rest of the day because I am slightly lactose intolerant. But what was worse with this drink was that it wasn’t even cold! It was lukewarm milk. UCK! Only after we went and got a cup of ice to add to it, was I able to try a little bit more of it…not that it was any better. Maybe this is how Chinese get their calcium intake – put tapioca pearls and something else in – since they do not usually drink milk on a daily basis (I know, I know! I’m being stereotypical, but you know that this is true for most Chinese yet I know I will hear something about this eventually).
I ordered a red bean, grass jelly, and tapioca shaved ice…no, actually I ordered a Taro, red bean, grass jelly, and tapioca shaved ice but I guess the man who took my order didn’t hear the “taro” part and gave me this one instead. And actually, I think this was better without the taro. This shaved ice was just what I needed after being in the humid climate that as a San Diegan, I was not used to. The ice was finely shaved so there were no chunks at all. Condensed milk was drizzled throughout the ice and each bite melted almost instantaneously the second it touched my tongue. The azuki beans on it were enough so that it gave the whole thing an overall sweet touch, while the grass jelly and tapioca helped cool and smooth every bite. Here’s a shot of the perfect bite:
After having this shaved ice, it makes all other shaved ice I’ve had seem so plain and too chunky. Why can’t all the restaurants (chains or not) from Orange County be moved down to San Diego?! Why??? Not fair…*pouting*
In addition to my shaved ice, I actually got up and went back to buy a box of coconut-pine nut cookies and black sesame pudding. I don’t have a good picture of the pudding but I’ll put it this way…it’s definitely not your Jello pudding. It’s so much more smoother and richer without being overly sickening. The taste of it reminds me of a custard almost, but with the flavors of black sesame and coconut. Phoenix has a variety of pudding flavors that come packaged in boxes of the individual flavors or as an assorted box. And the cookies?…
They remind me of a coconut macaroon by looking at it, but the taste is more of the coconut tarts from Chinese bakeries that usually come with a flaky tart crust. It even looks like the middle of the coconut tarts except these are crust-less. Topping each one is a sprinkling of sesame seeds and a pine nut. I don’t know why they put the pine nut on top because I didn’t taste any pine nuts in the cookie itself. Is it because of the single pine nut on top that these are these called “coconut-pine nut” cookies? The questions that plague my mind and take up useful space…
Anyways, these cookies were moist, once again not too sweet (seems to be the theme of the day) as coconut cookies/macaroons can be and like everything from that day…it left me wanting more. I think that’s how it is when your palate has been neglected for so many years that when it experiences such explosive and wonderfully blend of flavors, it will leave you wanting more.
Yeah, I’m greed and hungry…but eat with me and I’ll share my food if you share yours. But even if you don’t want to, I’ll just reach over and take some regardless. I told you I was greedy, what did you expect?!