Tag Archives: soup

Cornucopia (Dinner Friday)

5 Jun

View into fruit store in alleyway, Hanoi, with bananas, eggs, litchis in foreground.

The fruit stall on our alleyway, in Hanoi, Vietnam

This is the fruit stall in the alleyway next to our guesthouse, in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Friday evening. It’s just an ordinary store. Nothing fancy. No posher than the laundry, the menders, the barbers, the old lady who wheels her cart of lurid plastic sandals here every morning and home every night, or the five separate cottage industries selling street-fried spring rolls side by side in the cross-alley.

Yet these ladies don’t just sell the obvious — melons, watermelons, bananas, apples, oranges, limes, fresh mango, eggs. They’ve got rambutans, litchis so fresh they still have their leaves on, passion fruit the size of your fist (one dollar a kilo), those succulent sour plums you dip in salt and chilli, custard apples, great cannonballs of pomelos, bigger than a man’s head.

Oh, and mangosteens. The succulent, tough-shelled, very perishable fruit known as the Queen of Fruit. In the nineteenth century, Queen Victoria offered a reward to anyone who could manage to bring her a ripe mangosteen to try. Continue reading

Cambodian Food

27 Feb

Fresh-picked spring onions, CambodiaThere is an old Khmer saying which runs roughly as follows: “Eat anything that has four legs except a table, eat anything that flies except an aeroplane, and eat anything that travels by twos apart from a bicycle.”

It is sentiments such as this which give Cambodian food a bad name. And, especially since we have just had our first (unscheduled) encounter with the dreaded fertilised eggs in Saigon, it seems a little unfair. Continue reading

Scampering Lunches and Fresh Coconut Milk

27 Jan

So… Will we regret starting out in Thailand? The food, even before we head to the south and the north, is phenomenal, and Z is asking ominous questions about Cambodian cuisine.

He is developing an addiction to Tom Yam soup, made here with coconut milk fresh from the tree, which brings the flavour much closer to the dairy than the heavy candied coconut sweetness you get with packaged products, and experience at restaurants closer to home. Continue reading