When I told Janet about my plans to visit the Bay Area, she wanted to take me to her favorite Vietnamese restaurant in town. Scratch that. She wanted to take me to her favorite restaurant in town. It just happens to be Vietnamese. She messaged me and said that I HAD TO try it. And yes, it was in ALL CAPS.
So as the last meal before I left (my heart in) San Francisco, we stopped by Yummy Yummy in the Sunset District, where the Asian food is still authentic and hasn't yet been toursited out like it has been in other parts of town (namely, Chinatown).
Janet took charge of the menu and showed us some of her favorites:
Raw beef salad. The paper-thin slices of beef (from which part I have no idea) looked just a bit like hot pot beef from the yellow styrofoam tray at 99 Ranch. But the basil, onions (both fried and raw), and peanuts helped disguise it.
Rare steak? Not a problem. Raw beef? Eeek. I squeezed a good amount of lemon on the beef hoping that the acid would cook the beef fast enough so it didn't look so red. But as the second hand on my watch ticked away and as Janet, Grace and Alex ate away, I decided to suck it up and just inhale it. Look, I'm still here. Blogging, no less. Ergo, the raw beef salad is safe. Oh, and I forgot to mention... it was bomb diggity delicious. A punch from the peanuts, a bite frm the basil, and a kick from the onions made the raw beef salad somethin' spectacular. I was ready for another roll of beef.
Fish sauce marinated butter fried chicken wings. Like whoa. These little deep-fried wings and drumettes come out with fish sauce, strands of raw onions and carrots, and pieces of raw garlic poured over the top. This item is not on the menu (just yet) and was suggested (more like pushed) to us by the boss. (Janet, Grace and others on Yelp think that it's Yummy Yummy's counter to the amazing-delicious chicken wings from San Tung next door.)
The sauce over the top makes for the kind of crispy batter that begins to soften as time goes on, so eating quickly is a necessity. The only problem is that the chicken wings are fried to a point so hot that my fingers felt a bit smoldered just from the steaming heat. Damn. Catch 22. It's like trying to eat the most delicious ice cream cone outdoors in the hot summer heat. It's panic trying to get through the entire cone before it melts, but it's pleasure with every successful bite.
Crab with spicy onion seasoning. What it really should be called is crab with spicy onion, garlic, pepper, green onion, ginger, everything seasoning. That's what it is, and that's what it tastes like. It's a fresh whole crab in all its glory. Although I'm a little sad that this crab had to die for this meal, I'm glad knowing that the crab died to make four hungry people happy.
Everyone gets their own shell cracking tool, which is great because otherwise, we'd never be able to get inside to experience the pillow-soft sinews of the martyred crustacean. And I'm not joking about the crab meat being pillow-soft. If seafood stink and sanitation weren't such major factors, I'd take the sinews of the crab and stuff me a pillow! What a wonderful night's sleep I'd get... but seafood stink and sanitation are major factors, so... crab pillow I shall not make.
Spicy beef pho. This pho wasn't your typical pho from ordinary Vietnamese restaurants. The beef was sliced thicker... the soup had a spicy kick... and if you couldn't tell already, the color was a boiling red. Oooh. But the additions were the same as any: bean sprouts, basil leaves, citrus squeeze (lemon instead of lime here), and green chili peppers.
We ordered the pho with thicker, white flour noodles as opposed to the traditional thinner, clear rice noodles. They were just as springy and elastic as expected from the typical pho noodle. The best part? The soup, of course. I didn't feel like I was slurping up an MSG-infested, sinkwater-colored bowl of denatured enzymatic proteins. This... was just simply Vietnamese beef noodle soup. I like.
Hear that Janet? I like. Thanks, Janetabulous for introducing me to this Yummy Yummy-ness. Next door to San Tung next time?
Until then, let's get S.O.F.A.T.
ML - 20100817/20100725