This past Sunday, I went to Bethesda to visit one of my favorite restaurants in the area: Q by Peter Chang. Although I’ve been there many times now, I didn’t really know what to expect on this particular visit: it was a special event celebrating the Lunar New Year.…
If you lived in Ellicott City and craved Vietnamese food or pho at some point in time, chances are you’ve eaten (or at least heard of) Pho No. 1 simply because it’s one of the OG pho places in the area. The restaurant, located in the Westview shopping center off Baltimore National Pike, opened around the time pho started becoming popular.
The menu at Pho No. 1 is very extensive–there are well over 100 menu items, ranging from starters like spring rolls to rice dishes to, of course, pho.…
Go to any ethnic restaurant and you’ll often find dishes that have become synonymous with that culture’s food. Ramen. Korean BBQ. Pho. Pad Thai. They’re famous for a reason; they’re delicious and are easily approachable to even the most timid of eaters.
But it’s easy to forget that these cultures have so many other culinary treasures, some of which are dishes more commonly eaten at home than at restaurants.
Gang Jued Woon Sen is one such example. It’s a mild soup that is usually either served with a spicy dish or eaten on its own as a meal. But I didn’t know this dish existed until I asked my blogger friend Pam (of P&H Eats) what was one of the most meaningful dishes she had growing up.
It’s a dish with an emotional connection for her. She remembers how, as a little girl, she was crying inconsolably because her parents were away at the hospital, giving birth to her sister. Her grandmother made this soup and gave it to her at the top of the stairs, even though her family always ate at the dinner table.
Anyhow, below is her recipe for the soup. Be sure to check the recipe video where she tells her story about this dish too!
Gang Jued Woon Sen
- 10 c water
- 1.5 lbs chicken thighs with skin Can also use 4-6 chicken drumsticks.
- 4 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 piece ginger ~1.5 inches in length, roughly chopped.
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon Chicken (low sodium) optional
- 2 packs bean thread noodles
- 1 lbs ground pork
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 c shredded zucchini
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp thin soy sauce
- 1 large egg
- green onion
- 1/4 head napa cabbage
- Soak bean thread noodles in warm water for about 20 minutes (or until noodles are pliable).
- Combine chicken, ginger, minced garlic, thin soy sauce, and fish sauce with 10 cups cold water. Bring to boil, then cover with lid on medium high heat for approximately 20 mins.
- Wash and cut napa cabbage into small, 1/2 inch long pieces.
- Shred zucchini, squeeze out excess moisture in paper towel.
- Add zucchini, 2 tbs minced garlic, white pepper, egg, and soy sauce, to ground pork. Mix well.
- Using the palms of your hands, form small flat "meat balls" (~1.5 inches in diameter)
Finishing the dish
- Once the broth is boiling, gently place in the meatballs to cook.
- Add in the pliable bean thread noodles and napa cabbage a few minutes before serving.
- Garnish with cilantro and/or chopped green onions.
This is tteokgalbi (떡갈비), a dish that literally translates to rice cake (“tteok”) ribs (“galbi”). The name is a bit of a misnomer, though: rice cakes are actually not used in the dish. Instead, the name is a reference to how the meat patties are kneaded and shaped like rice cakes are.
It’s a dish that is a part of Korean royal cuisine. Back in the day, it was considered not proper for the king to eat galbi off the bone so instead, the meat would be separated from the bone, minced, and formed into patties for easy eating.
Though galbi is getting more and more popular outside of Korea, tteokgalbi is still relatively unknown. But it shouldn’t be: it’s delicious and, apart from mincing the meat, is a fairly easy recipe to make. (Although not traditional, you could substitute the expensive short rib cut for ground beef or pork to save time and money). I finished mine with a glaze consisting of soy sauce, honey, and Gotham Grove ’s amazing sesame seed oil (btw I’m not paid to say that lol …just love their products).
If you’re interested in making it, check out the recipe on my friend Hyosun ‘s website!
This is Steph (IG: @chinadollbaltimore). She’s a friend and a talented baker—she even made her own birthday cake featured here—and she’s also the founder/organizer of the upcoming Charm City Night Market (IG: @charmcitynightmarket) being held on Sept 22 (Sat) from 4PM to 11PM.
After learning about how Baltimore once had a vibrant Chinatown community along Park Avenue in Mount Vernon, Steph was inspired to do something that would not only share the stories of the immigrants who made this city their home but also showcase the amazing things Asian-American community is doing today. This desire led to the formation of a group who would eventually organize and develop the Charm City Night Market.
These passionate individuals have worked extremely hard to make this dream a reality and in one week, the inaugural Charm City Night Market will open its doors to the public! There will be many artists, vendors, and performances. And food from a lot of awesome places, including Baltimore’s beloved Ekiben and newly minted Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant Kaliwa !
Anyways, if you are in the area, please support Steph and all of the other awesome people and vendors and restaurants involved with this event. You can find (free) tickets here at eventbrite.com but you can also pay for a VIP pass that gains you access to additional food and drinks. You can find more information about Charm City Night Market on their website as well.
Korean food has a reputation for being red and spicy, but did you know that the red pepper is actually not native to Korea? It was introduced through trade in the 1600s… since then, Koreans definitely turned it into something uniquely their own. One such ingredient, gochugaru, is a powder made from dried chili peppers and is an essential Korean kitchen ingredient.
Food memories are a strong and beautiful thing. A small bite or a fleeting scent is enough to transport someone to an earlier time. It’s true for everybody, but perhaps as diners, we overlook its importance in chefs and cooks as well. That’s why the Hubei Tasting Dinner at Q by Peter Chang was special.
Last week, I had the pleasure to attend the first of many Saigon Summers popups that Chef Helen (@miss_hailan) has been organizing in New York City. While she’s worked at some of New York’s best and well-known restaurants, Helen has a passion for sharing Vietnamese food; this dinner allowed her to share this love with friends and strangers alike.
For this dinner, Helen brought in friends from all over the US to collaborate. She brought in Chefs and friends from Las Vegas, Seattle, and San Diego for an epic Vietnamese collaboration dinner. I especially appreciated how your “typical” Vietnamese foods like pho and banh mi were not on the menu. I don’t know much about Vietnamese food, but this dinner really opened my eyes to the delicious flavors and textures of Vietnam. I really need to learn more.
This first dish, bo tai chanh, was simply amazing. Tender beef eye round, watercress, fried shallots, peanuts, lime vinaigrette. Holy crap this was good—and it set the stage for the rest of the dinner.
A lotus root salad (goi ngo sen) was next. Loved the bright flavors and the textural contrast with the cracker.
Baby clams with sesame rice crackers (hen xuc banh trang) were next.
Banh beo, steamed rice cake, was next.
Bo Kho, braised short ribs, rounded up the savory dishes. And this was just comfort in a bowl, much akin to a hearty beef stew.
And dessert was che suong sa hat luu, a tapioca dessert. I could have had like ten more of these… they were that awesome.
The talented chefs:
Anyways, Chef Helen is continuing to do popups in NYC so definitely follow her instagram (@miss_hailan) to keep up on any new popups. Plus she’s just a kind and awesome person and someone I respect very much—she’s hustling really hard to open a Vietnamese restaurant in LIC soon. It’s going to be good.
It’s not a fancy place. In fact, you could be forgiven for driving past To Sok Jip without a second thought. After all, it’s a small building with white, wooden paneling and a slightly faded pink awning that lists off menu items in Korean. But people will line up and wait for a seat at one of the ten or so tables here because the food here is just that good.
I got the grilled croaker fish (actually, it came with two!) and the doenjang jjigae. I took a sip of the steaming, bubbling soup and wow. Just blown away. It’s a soup I’ve had thousands of times and still, To Sok Jip’s made me stop and smile. This. This is Korean comfort in a bowl.
Do you remember when the Iron Man movie first came out? It was followed by Hulk, Thor, and Captain America movies… and then BAM! They all got together and formed The Avengers, a superhero supergroup. Well, “Avengers” is what comes to mind when I think about Chef Ho Young Kim’s incredible popup at Atomix.