Saturday, January 10, 2009

Banh Reu, it's what's for dinner

Boyfriend and I made the trek east to Oslo's Ethnic Town. This is a small area just east of the city center where the minority is the majority. Most of the stores are non-Norwegian and proudly display a whole manner of ethnic foods, goods, and pastries. I've written a whole post on Ethnic Town and won't repeat myself. Instead I will take advantage of technology and kindly link you to the post: Ethnic Town

Today, we made our way to ethnic town for 2 things. 1 - We wanted to try a Chinese restaurant we'd heard a lot of very good things about: Taste of China. This was our second attempt to try this restaurant and much to our frustration we were disappointed to find that they still haven't returned from their holiday and were still closed. That was a bummer. Then I suggested we try a fairly authentic Vietnamese restaurant just up the street. That too was closed. It was the absolute monarch of bum-smackers because I was starting to get pretty hungry and everyone who knows me knows I'm not nice when I'm hungry. Boyfriend, in full panic mode, suggested the first restaurant we saw: a less-than-clean kabob place. By this point, I was already disappointed and likely to dislike whatever I had for lunch so I agreed. We each had a lamb schwarma plate that wasn't so bad except it was covered in Pink Mayonnaise Sauce. But, onwards and upwards to the other fine points of Ethnic Town. The second reason that brought us east was a restaurant supply store I'd visited when I first arrived in Oslo. I didn't find what I was looking for (there seems to be a theme to my day) so we headed to the Asian market. Finally, I was happy amongst the shelves of fish sauces, fermented tofu, black bean sauces, pickled vegetables and instant noodles. I loaded up on the fresh Asian vegetables I can't find at my local grocer and day-dreamed about elaborate Chinese meals I'd cook at home. Stay tuned...

While in the area, I picked up a little snack for dinner. What I picked up is called Banh Reu, small steamed cakes made from rice flour and topped with yellow mung beans, dried shredded pork, tiny fried shrimp, egg yolk bits, and green onion. Each little cake is dipped into the oh-so-pungent and oh-so-delicious fish sauce. The result is a chewy and crispy bite combining the flavors of shrimp, salt, sweet, and deep fried onion. Not as good as what I got at home, but I am thankful I get some at all. Here's a picture of what these banh reu look like.
And for dessert, we had baklava and an assortment of other flaky, nutty, syrupy pastries. Go big or go home.



  2. I wish I had!!!!! If you can find a way to mail me some Porto's, I'd be a very happy girl.