Saturday, April 25, 2009

Are they drinks or are they dessert?

Technically, two of them are drinks, albeit drinks that require lots of chewing. The third is a pudding. 

Except when it comes to chicks I'm not a whim shopper, but yesterday at the New May Wah Market I was admiring, as always, the Vietnamese drink/desserts they sell in translucent plastic cups. Went for it. My father came to dinner and we had a tasting. 

From left to right, our thoughts: 

-Pink drink was filled with long, crunchy, translucent "noodles," juicy pearls of fuschia-colored tapioca, and mung beans. Sauce was sweet and milky. Fabulous.

-Green drink contained soft, translucent forest-green "noodles" -- they resemble spaetzle --  and kidney beans. Sauce was the same as with pink but with a different dye. Also fabulous.

-The tan dessert was a firm, astringent and slightly salty tapioca and banana pudding sprinkled with roasted peanuts. Our least favorite by far.
What's wonderful about the pink and green drinks is that they are

a. refreshing, cool, and thirst-quenching but also substantial.

b. playful and pretty
c. textural. There are items slippery, crunchy, creamy, liquid, and grainy all together in one glass. Or dish. I know this isn't to everyone's taste, but why not?

I spent some time at the New May Wah trying to find "oliang" coffee mix (it contains roasted corn kernels, sesame seeds and soybeans) to make the Thai iced coffee recipe in Anne Mendelson's Milk. Failed. Apparently a coffee "sock" is also required. I could just order the whole kit right here, but that takes away the fun. 

1 comment:

  1. Just found your blog via Slate. I really enjoyed your article there. We do a lot of budget cooking, but I always suspect my results are a pale imitation of the real thing.

    Now I'm off to the kitchen with more confidence!