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I don’t find Asian food, Asian food finds me

February 25, 2010
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Sam wanted to get Chinese food, so a small group of us went to get lunch at Iris, a Szechuan place near the Pompidou that she’d been to before. There were two things she said we had to get and I’ve learned to always trust my Asian friends when they say something is awesome (this is how I came across xiaolongbao, beef noodle soup, and Malay cake), so we let her talk to the waiter and do her thing.

When she was trying to describe the dishes to us, she described one as “a sort of hollow vegetable”, as she didn’t know the Chinese name for the dish herself. She tried describing the dish to the waiter (this is all in Chinese – I don’t know any Chinese but she told us what happened after), and after a few tense moments when it seemed like the waiter was as lost as I was, he understood what she was going on about and said, “Oh! You mean the hollow vegetable!” Yep, apparently the actual name for the vegetable in Chinese is something like “the hollow vegetable”, nice and simple.

We eventually located the dish on the menu and I wrote down the French name, liseron, hoping that I could find the English name for the vegetable later. It’s apparently something called bindweed, which I’ve never heard of either. “The hollow vegetable” is a much better name.


I forgot to take pictures before we started, but it looked a lot better at the beginning. You can see that the vegetables are hollow. They were slightly crunchy, and the mild sauce was good. You can also see that I’m terrible at describing Chinese food. I haven’t eaten a lot of traditional Chinese food, so I’m not very discerning about it and I’m sure people who have eaten a lot of Chinese food would have more to say, but overall it just reminded me of other traditional green vegetable dishes, which I always like.

The other dish that Sam wanted to get was this pork dish; strips of fatty pork belly piled on top of fatty pork bits – yes please! I’ve never met a dish involving pork belly that I haven’t liked, and although I might have preferred the slices of pork belly to have been a tiny bit thicker and I didn’t find the sauce particularly interesting, hey, it’s pork belly.

Each dish was around 7-8 euros, and as I split a bowl of rice with Sam, my total was around 8 euros – a solid value. They also have a 8.50 lunch formule that includes an appetizer of two lamb brochettes, a main, and rice.

Otherwise, this week I haven’t been eating out a lot, as I’ve been cooking more. I bought several big bottles of soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil from Tang Freres last week, hoping to try to make beef noodle soup, and while I haven’t had the time to make it yet, I’ve been trying to use those ingredients so that I don’t have too much left over by the time I go home.

Three cups chicken, using the recipe I found on Rasa Malaysia. I was a little impatient and should have cooked the chicken a little longer to get more of a crisp on the outside, but it was simple and tasty.

I liked the three cups chicken sauce so much that I made “Three Cups Mushrooms” to accompany noodles with the Momofuku ginger scallion sauce (recipe from Inuyaki). Really simple sauce to make, and I love the fresh taste of scallions and ginger; pretty, pretty good.

And then tonight, I made Thai green curry but accidentally cooked the rice using twice the amount of water needed. REALLY WATERY RICE. So it turned out like green curry porridge, which wasn’t bad, but still. Poo.

ADDRESSES

Iris
183 rue Saint-Martin, 3rd
Metro: Etienne Marcel (4), Rambuteau (11)
01 42 78 29 76

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