Friday, October 05, 2012

Bun Bo Hue, Sour Soup, and Durian Cake


A few weekends ago, Aunt IS invited us over to her house for lunch. She had made a large pot of bun bo hue and wanted to see how we liked it. Richard and I didn’t go for lunch, but rather, we went in the afternoon.

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After we greeted everyone, I noticed that there were two sheets of pound-like cakes cooling on the table. Aunt L brought some durian custard, which she had mashed and put in a bag. Grandpa complained that there wasn’t enough durian in some past versions, where the durian was “watered down” by coconut milk. You’d rarely find cakes made with pure durian like this.

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Even though it wasn't finished yet, the cake looked more appetizing once Aunt L began to spread the durian around. It looked less like a pile of... yeah...

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The second layer of cake was pressed onto the durian custard.

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Whipped cream was then used to top the durian cake.


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Richard and I then had a bowl of bun bo hue. Slurping down the contents was so enjoyable! As we were eating our bun bo hue, Richard said that it felt like we were eating at a street stand in Asia somewhere with Anthony Bourdain. We were both sweating before we were even done eating half of our bowls. It was a combination of the spice blend and the heat. It was a good sweat. I'm struggling to not drool over my laptop as I write this.


Dinner prep began after we finished eating. On the menu, a Cambodian sour soup with fish (known as somlaw maju in Cambodian and canh chua ca in Vietnamese), chicken and pork bulgogi, salt and pepper shrimp, and stir-fried Chinese water spinach with preserved soybeans.

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I don't know how to spell it. I've seen it also spelled as samlor machu, samlar machu, and somlah machou. In any case, the soup consisted of skate wings, pork broth, tomato, Chinese water spinach, and tamarind powder. The soup was garnished with fried garlic chips, fried garlic oil, green onions, and thin ribbons of thai basil. The bowl of soup above didn't have the fried garlic chips or oil.

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Uncle L fired up the BBQ in the backyard and grilled the two kinds briefly marinated bulgogi. Two platefuls of shrimps, lightly dusted with cornstarch and salt, were deep fried outside on the BBQ element too. The deep fried shrimps were served with a side of salt and pepper.

Both the beef and chicken bulgogi needed a lot more time in the marinade. I wish there was leftover bulgogi sauce to pour over the meat, or at least dip it in, but Aunt IS used up everything in the marinade. *Sad face*

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Finally, the Chinese water spinach was stir-fried with minced garlic, preserved soy beans, and some oyster sauce. It was meant to be on the bland side to balance out all the dishes. (I loooove the preserved soy beans in congee and in homemade wonton soup! Ah... how nostalgic...)


Along with a seemingly bottomless teapot of jasmine tea, we ended dinner with durian cake and che dau. Oh yeah, I didn't mention that Mom brought over the batch she had made the previous evening.

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