Bún riêu is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, well known throughout the country and world for its clear broth and vermicelli noodles. I have been told by many Vietnamese households that it is the easiest broth to start with if anyone wanted to delve their hands into Vietnamese cooking.
I used a 4L pot but I recommend a bigger one for serving to friends / family. This was my first attempt at making it so here we go....
From the butcher:
From the Asian grocery store:
From your cupboard:
Tip: I never realized how fucking hard it was to find the jars and pick out the right vegetables in an Asian grocery store. I speak basic Vietnamese and it took me a whole hour to get a few ingredients 😳 I had to video call my mum for help LOL
I chose to do an overnight broth because the soup always tastes better and more concentrated when it has been soaking up the bones for a long time. This dish can be made within 3 hours. There are heaps of recipes online.
For my broth:
For my meatballs:
For my vegetables:
I put everything in a container for future use. Make sure to dry out the coriander because moisture can cause the other vegetables to mold faster.
I made sure to skim the fat and gunk off the top as often as I could and topped up the pot with more boiling water. By the next day, my broth was still clear and rich in flavour. I couldn't stop smelling it HAHAHA.
For a timeline:
For the sliced tomatoes, many people suggested putting it straight into the pot. Others recommended sauteing with garlic for about 2 minutes for a charred taste.
I fucked up.
I cooked it on my frying pan for a bit too long and it became mushy 😅 I was willing to go out and buy more tomatoes but Mick said it was ok.
After removing my chicken bones, I put my tomatoes, my onion and 1 packet of the bun rieu flavour cubes in. I seasoned with about 2 tbsp fish sauce, salt, sugar and chicken powder to taste. I had to get Mick to double-check the flavours so if you're not sure, aim for a sweet and savoury broth.
At this point, I was about 2 hours from serving and my broth was still simmering on low heat.
Next, I rolled my minced pork and plopped them into the broth. After a few minutes, the meatballs started floating to the surface 🤤
The broth was almost ready! With the meatballs in, I seasoned one more time. Then I worked on the other toppings.
For my quail eggs:
For my blood jelly:
In a separate pot, I boiled water and cooked vermicelli noodles for 3-4 minutes. Placed in my bowl, poured the broth and added toppings.
We added a spoon of fermented shrimp paste to taste and viola! Ready to eat!
My parents said the flavours were on point but the colour was not. They said to use 2 packets of the condensed flavouring to achieve a more orange look in the broth.
Mick said everything was good for my first time but that I "cheated" because I asked him to taste test 😅 He gave me a 7.5/10.
It felt like a lot of work and I was really hard on myself (especially about the tomatoes) but I'm glad it tasted delicious in the end. Woo! Now I'm ready to feed my future children some traditional food.
Thanks for reading! I hope this guide helps you in some way because it will certainly help me the next time I try this again LOL (my memory is soooo bad).
Until the next cooking attempt, byee.
As promised from our last Monkey's Corner post, we went back to take better photos and we had the truffle menu. Yumm! We love truffle season.
At the time of our visit, the Covid restrictions were easing and Chef Poernomo fame was growing, thanks to MasterChef. We booked for the 20:15 time slot and had to wait till 20:40 for our seating. This gave me plenty of time to browse the Koi Desserts menu 😍.
Another thing I appreciated about Monkey's Corner is their use of e-menus. You scan the QR code on the table and boop, menu is on your phone. No need to touch the paper menus that countless others have touched with their germs.
Our first dish was a delicious ox tongue, beef fat, chives and lime for $15. Each piece was delicately cut and jammed pack full of savoury flavours. The chives added a nice touch of earthy freshness to the bite. It was a great light snack / entree.
One thing we like to do is let the bartender recommend and make whatever they want. Mick got a spin off of the El Juliano (gin, elderflower, lemongrass, ginger beer). The guy said he replaced the ginger beer with another hard liquor LOL.
And I ordered the Passion Lady (chilli tequila, passion fruit, pineapple, cointreau). It had a light kick with a strong fruity essence. The tequila was tolerable and did not remind me of drunken nights *shudder, tequila*
Moving on with food, this was the delicious crack bowl, foie gras, wagyu rump cap, onion sauce for $48. Extra truffle would have been an extra $15 so we opted out on adding it on top of this bowl. It was a little hefty but oooft, the moment we ate it, we thought it was worth the money. The bowl size fitted in the palm of our hands.
Okay so this wagyu bowl was friggin' delish. The wagyu had that beautiful medium rare colour and its flesh was tender and juicy. The foie gras was THICC, fatty and delectable. The sweetness from the onion sauce elevated the meaty juices and helped blend everything together in a synchronized bite. Everything was saturated well. There was a good balance between the portions and the rice. We chowed this down sooo fast and wished it wasn't so expensive so we could order another.
Look at the details on that truffle 😋. This was the wagyu with onion sauce, soft eggs and rice with added WA Manjimup Black Truffle for $37 ($22 plus the added truffle for $15). We had finished a very rich bowl so coming to this one we felt everything individually was mild in flavour but when combined together in a bite, it was a lot stronger. This may be due to the nature of the truffle. We liked that the truffle amount overflowed into the bowl. Again, this was a well balanced dish with a good amount of rice.
In this bowl, there was no foie gras to soak in the onion sauce so we felt it was more dictated by the onion's sweetness. Overall it was still delicious for its price, but not as spectacular as the first bowl.
Holy fuck, Monkey's Corner are not stingy when it comes to their truffle shavings. This was the WA Manjimup black truffle pasta and woah, this simple dish was so goooooood. There was a slight sweetness and a well-balanced umami flavour. The egg noodles had this freshness to their bouncy texture, and we found the bounciness unique for "pasta". It was similar to an Asian noodle. The squid ink was salted and not overpowering. The truffles were a beautiful touch and enhanced the sweetness of this dish.
Lastly we ordered the spicy trout belly tartare on rice. This bowl was so-so. We felt it was a little dry because there was no sauce to melt the rice and trout layer together. The trout itself was really good; smooth and fatty with a little kick. The roe brought a salty touch and the lime helped cut through the spice. We were getting full by this point and couldn't finish this bowl. Sad.
We have always enjoyed our dining experiences at Monkey's Corner. We do think some bowls are overpriced for its size (coming from an Asian household where rice is cheap like water) but it will not stop us from returning. If you must know, the bill was $160 for 2.
Thanks for reading, happy eating!
Tonight we made a simple salmon and watercress dish for dinner.
Calorie breakdown: salmon (240 cals) + watercress (9 cals per cup) = ~300
For the salmon:
For the watercress:
Mick cooked the salmon using the poele method. This is when you scoop the oil you are cooking your protein in and pour it over. This method works best for certain proteins with thicker skin, such as salmon. He used this technique to lock in the moisture and flavour of the fish.
He made sure to leave the centre of the salmon a little raw. As Gordon Ramsay says, if you cook your salmon all the way through, your customers will end up with a dried texture.
In a separate pot, Mick made a sweetened soy based sauce with these ingredients:
This was very simple to plate and a easy recipe to cook after a tiring gym session.
The salmon was super soft and buttery from retaining all its juices. I was able to cut my salmon with just my fork. The sauce had a sweet aroma and enhanced the flavours of the salmon. The watercress had a fresh and bitter aftertaste, contrasting the sweetness of the sauce while drawing my tongue's attention to the salmon's flavours. It was really delicious (not to toot my own horn) and I thought I'd share the recipe.
Thanks for reading! Until the next cooking attempt, see ya!