vietnamese spring rolls

I bought this pack of Vietnamese rice paper a while ago and decided to make a surprise supper for my other half last night. I had about 1 ½ hours before she came back and I wanted to try hand rolling these things coz I’ve never done it before. I have eaten a lot of Vietnamese cuisine (even had dog meat in Hanoi) but never actually wrapped even a single spring roll myself.

vietnamese wrap

I was quite surprised to find out that the Vietnamese rice paper are hard, flat circles like a tortilla wrap. You actually have to dip it into warm water to soften it up. My better half later told me that she’s seen a documentary to that effect – the rice paper are mass produced as flat, solid circles.

chinese english sausage

I first defrosted the fresh Chorizo sausage (had one left over) and took out a Chinese sausage (lap cheong). I could insert a joke on the relative sizes here but I can’t think of a tasteful one. Haha! Geddit?

frying sausages

Anyway, I fried up the Chinese sausage and Chorizo sausage (found out later that it’s better to first fry them both whole before cutting) and also a bit of shrimp. No seasoning! I reckon the two flavored sausages would do well.

kacang botol

I also made a pile of carrot shavings and slices and used a couple of winged beans for the vegetable bit. Winged beans are called kacang botol here and people usually eat it as ulam (traditional Malay raw vegetable side). I had wanted it to stick out like the picture but that was harder than I thought. Haha!

making vietnamese rolls

My first two attempts to make one failed – the Vietnamese rice paper are really gooey and sticky after the warm water treatment and it’s not very conducive to wrapping. You cannot mess it up! *One* mistake and the entire wrap is ruined!

sausages shrimp

I put one sliced sausage of each type, a couple of shrimp, then some carrots before sticking in a winged bean and wrapping the works up.

vietnamese rice paper

It took my third try for a slightly acceptable wrap and some came out looking like phalluses which is completely unintended, I assure you.

vietnamese rolls

I chucked it into the fridge to chill and it was really tasty! I made five and my dear ate 3 of them when she came back and left 2 for me but I wasn’t hungry so I only ate it later on in the night as a midnight snack (to the background noise of my neighbor arguing with his girlfriend and telling her not to come over any more and some scuffling and punches – there goes the neighborhood).

chilled spring rolls

The crunchy and crispy texture of the winged bean (kacang botol) with the two sausages made for a really good cold spring roll! It certainly wouldn’t have tasted as good in a tortilla wrap, it needs something more refined, less pushy, and the translucent Vietnamese rice paper fits the bill perfectly! I’ll make this again! :)

wondermilk cupcakes

My better half came back with cupcakes, which is perfect coz I had a 4 pints of two different ice cream in the freezer. Heh.

bus stop hotdog

Hotsilog is the Tagalog name for hot dogs. This is different from the Philippines chorizo type sausage called longganisa. Longganisa is short links of pork sausage while hotsilog is actual hot dogs as you know it – it’s also much longer. No, there’s no double entendre intended.

hotsilog

You can find hotsilog sold in bus stops and other stalls where quick travel food is required. It’s usually sold next to balut and chicharon (pork crackling). The history of the Philippines with the long American presence has created this long and *brightly colored* radioactive red hot dog that is sold on a stick or in a bun.

hotsilog hotdog

The ones in a bun costs 30 PHP (about RM 1.80) while the hotsilog on a stick costs 25 pesos (RM 2.20). The shorter hotdog in a bun actually costs *more* than the longer ones on a skewer! You’ll be initially surprised that a locally made bun wrapped around the hot dog will actually hurt your wallet more…especially when you see the length.

bus philippines

Hotsilogs on a skewer / stick is much longer than the ones in a bun. That means you get more meat for 5 pesos less for the former. Street peddlers will come on board while you’re in a bus and sell all sorts of stuff from Buko Pies to newspapers.

me hotsilog

The hotsilogs is a distinctively American influence that has been given a local twist. It tastes much like what you’ll expect a hotdog or sausage to, but juicier and mildly spiced so it’s good to eat by itself without other condiments.

philippines hotdog

It’s an interesting experience to eat it on long journeys. The way it’s cut into spirals before being cooked is something the locals have done to make it cook evenly.

hotsilog vendor

The local hotsilog is also surprisingly sweet and worth a try if you’re on a bus with nothing better to do. You might also require a hardy stomach. ;)

I never eat white bread. It’s nutritionally inferior and I prefer the taste of brown bread nowadays anyway. I go for wholemeal/wholegrain (including the fad ones that has “enrichments” like Canadian Purple Wheat). It’s more expensive at RM 2.80 – RM 4.50 but definitely worth it for the additional vitamins for a balanced (hmm..) diet.

1. Sandwiches with surimi, sausages and boiled eggs

bread sausages surimi

This is considered a treat in survival mode. Heh. The surimi is store brand and family pack sized for extra savings, the sausages are the ultimate manifestation of mystery meat (plus it’s on sale at under RM 2) and eggs are eggs – you need them.

Coincidentally, these are the same items I use to cook ramen. smirk

2. Bread with milk

Ah! The staple since time immemorial. I’ll suggest fresh milk – it’s well worth the price premium for the fortified essentials – fat, for one. ;)

bread milk

Just plain bread goes a long way with flavorful fresh milk. Don’t skimp and go the reconstituted crap or low fat variants – if you’re in survival mode, you’ll need those extra calories.

3. Bread dipped in raw egg

This is a surprisingly delicious combo that I discovered. You can do it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil…so why not raw egg?

bread raw egg

Just crack one (chilled – leave it in the fridge for at least 24 hours) egg into a saucer and it can last for 4-5 slices of bread.

You can eat it by it’s own too, there’s taste and texture in some of the nut enriched ones and that’s what I do most of the time. These are just 3 examples are just to break the tedium of eating bread alone.

You know how it goes, man shall not live on bread alone. ;)

currywurst germany

You’ve gotta try this when you’re in Berlin! The word “curry” in currywurst might make it sound like it’s not an authentic German dish but it’s 100% from Berlin. It was invented in 1949 according to Wikipedia by a lady called Herta Heuwer.

The Volkwagen Autostadt in Wolfsburg produces it’s own currywurst but but we unfortunately did not manage to try it coz it was raining heavily and we had a train to catch.

organic currywurst

Thus, we had the one in Berlin – it’s a takeaway food and currywurst is made of pork sausages drowned in ketchup and a healthy sprinkling of curry powder before being cut into slices. The proprietor told me that the steamed currywurst originates from the former East Berlin while the currywurst that’s steamed, dipped in batter and fried are from the former West Berlin.

currywurst

I tried both and I preferred the ones without the skin. It’s delicious, I was really full from lunch but ate both types anyway and despite being a tad salty (which is really something coming from me), it was absolutely fabulous!

currywurst berlin

It’s one of those local snacks that you just have to try. It’s sweet, tangy and salty – the Germans make good sausages. The currywurst stand in Berlin that we went to serves organic pork sausages for 3.30 Euros. :)

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