Sunday, 28 January 2007

in da ghetto.

Yesterday my friend Nhan took me for an exploration of Adelaide's Vietnamese 'ghetto'. Her phrase, not mine, and I think it might be a little strong, for at no point did I fear being mugged for my bling. (Ok, I can't talk ghetto, I'm stopping now).

We drove around for a bit, and she pointed out the main shopping strips and the good Banh Mi (Vietnamese rolls) place near Arndale, while I tried (unsuccessfully) to learn to pronounce a few words of Vietnamese correctly. Then we went and had dunch/linner at a place called Nghi Ngan Quan on 34 Wright St, Ferryden Park. (Sorry anyone who speaks Vietnamese who may be reading this - I can't figure out how to get the tones onto the letters.)

I had the Phnom Penh dry noodle soup, which was chicken stock (I think) with dry noodles (not actually that dry - I think the term is more to contrast with the usual 'wet' pho noodles which are thicker and slimier. Kind of like the difference between cooked dried pasta and cooked fresh pasta) and slices of pork, calamari, prawns, quail eggs, and octopus with slices of spring onion, bean sprouts and continental parsley. Yum. It was delicious. Nhan had the broken rice, which was a plate of rice topped with salted fried pork-skin, and surrounded with various foods - pork cooked a couple of ways, an egg, some Vietnamese meatloaf, and some sour vegetables among other things I think. We both had an avocado shake (avocado mushed with condensed milk and mixed with crushed ice) and shared a dessert of hot sweetcorn mixed with condensed milk and other things. Yum Yum Yum. It was really good to go with someone who spoke the language and knew the cuisine too - it meant I could be a bit more adventurous with what I ate with reduced likelihood of choosing badly. Hopefully we will do it again soon. Either way, trying the Banh Mi place is definitely now on my list of things to do.

After linner, we went and visited a couple of Vietnamese supermarkets in the area. This was also good to have a guide for - I learned a little bit more about Asian culture in general, and particularly about the fresh foods available, the greens for example, that I haven't seen outside of Asian grocers. I bought a frozen coconut drink (in keeping with the rule of trying a new drink each time I visit an Asian grocer) as well as some Chinese soy sauce (after being told by another friend that using Japanese kikkoman soy sauce in Chinese dishes is not ok) and some pickled ginger for mum, who discovered a love for it last week at the Sushi Train. I nearly bought some rambutans too, which I haven't seen elsewhere this season, and got really excited about, but they were only available in $14 packs which was a little rich for my blood.

All in all I had an excellent afternoon - it was a great way to learn a little bit more about the culture, and sample some more of a cuisine that I love so much! And of course I got to hang out with a close friend! What better way to spend a saturday afternoon.

Next stop: the Lebanese grocer/bakery. I only wish I had a guide...

1 comment:

Molly said...

Oh that sounds like an AWESOME day out! You're so right about being adventurous when you have a 'local' to guide you. Who knew hot sweetcorn would make a yummy desert?! Now I want avocado drink. Arm num num...