Pho Snob

I actually thing a long moon ago I posted about my love for pho, but guess what? It’s time to post about it again, because why? Because love grows. And my love for pho grows more and more each day.

Some back story – I grew up in Ottawa, Canada which you may or may not know has a large Vietnamese population and over the years the pho of this amazing people slowly began to takeover Chinatown so that now it’s like Vietnam town – they run that city! From Pho Bo Ga, to Pho Bo Ga 1 to Pho Bo Ga 2 – I mean you really can’t have enough. And best of all? Some of are open twenty pho seven! Say what? Late night pho? AFTER BAR pho? The only thing that compares is after bar poutine but that’s a whole separate pho – I mean story, haha.

So the pho, like I love it SO MUCH. So much so much. I used to drive to Thu Do from my house in Ottawa to the Vietnam town which is like 15-20 minutes to eat there BY MYSELF. I easily had pho 4 times a week.

If you follow me on Instagram – @aforangela, you will see that 50% of my pictures are just pho and me being a connoisseur of pho. Lately I’ve watched my obsession grow.

Three years ago I moved to Hong Kong, excited by it’s proximity to Vietnam and assuming it would be basically like living in a giant pho bowl. Oh wow – was I wrong. There’s not that much Vietnamese food here – W – T – F.

And guess what, I’ve been to Vietnam quattro times, four times, yeah four different times and the Vietnamese food there is not that good. I know. Shocking. How can it be? Well simply, quality of ingredients. The standard is not so high so wow that was like a dagger through my heart.

So now that I live in Asia and it’s surprisingly pho lonely what’s a girl to do? Naturally become obsessive about it. It’s now my main mission in life to seek out the best pho wherever I am. I have become pho snobby that I creep over to other people’s tables to look at the shape (width and thickness) + texture of the rice noodles before committing myself to a bowl.

Pho has taken over my life so much so that I now refer to anything as a noodle, including pasta – this awkwardly came up one night when I was eating at a real Italian person’s house having their homemade lasagna. What do I mean by real Italian? I mean like we went to the bar and he facetimed his Mom, “Ciao Mama” and hand makes their own meatballs. So the lasagna was the best I’ve ever had but I made an Asian faux pas by calling the pasta, noodles. But like if you see where I’m coming from, that’s a compliment.

Anyways – 2 pho places opened here in Hong Kong that deserve special mention and I am pretty much VIP there if there were such a thing. The first is Pho Bar – it’s great for value for money and I love that they have the option of both thin and thick noodles (I love thin noodles, very hard to find) and they offer zucchini noodles for the carb conscious which ONE TIME I got and it took everything I had in me to get them because I LIVE for rice noodles, all day, everyday. What I don’t like is their meatballs, just like weird and bland and also they don’t have tendon. I love tendon. And the broth is a little dark and heavy AND I wish the soup came out so hot it was about to burn me, I’m into that.

Pho from Brass Spoon – I should mention they use a brass spoon which is not shaped appropriately for pho. It’s no where deep enough, UGH.

Second, Brass Spoon. This place for starters is hella expensive. I mean pho just shouldn’t cost that much. Like $15USD, that’s insane. BUT I do like their broth and they have tendon. What is totally crazy pants is that they close at 7pm. Their noodles are good too but too thick for me, like I said, I like the thin noodles and also the broth could be hotter.

So this post is losing some train of thought – BUT, the point is that – I live for pho, I love carbs, I would eat rice noodles for the rest of my life. PHO 4 EVA. #phosnobdontcare And I should mention I eat pho like 2-4 times a week and that type of gluttony makes you a snob, pho sure.

 

For more pho photos, please head to my instagram @aforangela, please also note I love instastory. 


Winter is coming…

Today in Hong Kong it’s a cool 23.6C. And you might be thinking that’s not cold but you know what – it averages 40C here for 9 months of the year so yes, I now feel it is very cool at 23C.

The coldest we get here is 10C and actually it’s quite cold because we don’t have central heating and it’s humid in a way where it feels damp. So yes, brrr.

And when it’s brrr it’s time to hibernate. Make yourself a den in your bedroom – get an excess amount of pillows, a fluffy duvet, a space heater, netflix, a water bottle if you’re extra into getting cozy and FOOD.

No bear can survive the winter without food. The best winter foods are warm and hearty and hopefully make you fat so you can protect yourself from the cold. THE BEST THING IN THE WINTER IS HOT POT (the second best thing is pho, the third best thing is chilli, the fourth best thing is any type of soup).

I am a big fan of hot pot – like such a big fan. And so this post is really going to focus on hot pot.

What is hot pot?

Hot pot is often referred to as the Chinese fondue. It makes sense really but instead of melting cheese or having oil in a pot we have soup. And in this soup we cook a variety of foods. Anything from meat (beef, chicken, pork lamb) to seafood (shrimp, squid, not really fish but some fish), balls all sorts of balls – crab balls, fish balls, beef balls, fish balls with cheese inside them, beef with cheese inside of them, lobster balls – veggies up the wazhoo, and noodles, noodles all types of noodles. Short ones, fat ones, blonde ones, white ones.

But hold up – what makes every meal BETTER? I mean I be you’re wondering, how can it even get better. Well for starters, there are a variety of soups to choose from – clear broth, tomato soup, egg soup, corn soup, mushroom soup, hot and sour, spicy and even some fancy places will get into the whole tom yum arena and more. AND why limit yourself to just one broth?

Just look at this! Drools.

Just look at this! Drools.

Hot pot is the best when you can have multiple types of broths. I think 3 is a good number, 4 is just the one too many that you never get around to.

Besides the broth – I mean obviously that;s a big part of hot pot awesomeness but what I REALLY LOVE is the sauce. SO MANY SAUCES FOR DIPPING YOUR MEAT/FISH/VEGGIES/NOODLES whatever in. There are so many sauces to chose from, at least at the good places there. My all time favourite is sesame sauce. I mean I make several bowls but my go to sesame with sesame oil and maybe some chilis. I LURV IT.

 

Sauces, my favourite one is on the bottom right but my all time favourite is when there's a sauce bar and there's 20 sauces you can mix and match. Heaven, I'm in heaven!

Sauces, my favourite one is on the bottom right but my all time favourite is when there’s a sauce bar and there’s 20 sauces you can mix and match. Heaven, I’m in heaven!

 

The final hurrah! It's all there in all it's glory. Eat up, warm up! Hibernation station.

The final hurrah! It’s all there in all it’s glory. Eat up, warm up! Hibernation station.


Why 7.4 billion people* should eat a Cinnabon

*The world population is currently 7.4 billion people, well, as of March 2016 it was so let’s just say it’s that. Cinnabon is currently available in about 30 countries with 750 outlets. With some of these countries the population size is pretty major, eg. India 1.2 billion, United States 318.9 million – actually those are the most notable. Now, we are going to do some quick scrappy math and assume that 30% of India’s population has had a Cinnabon and 50% of the USA’s population has had a Cinnabon and the rest of the countries that Cinnabon is located in plus visitors that might visit and taste this glorious bun are about 1 million (pulled that number out of my butt) – that leaves 6.8 billion people approximately have yet to try a Cinnabon and you know what?

THAT’S 6.8 BILLION PEOPLE TOO MANY!

Note: If you have a gluten allergy or diabetes this delectable delight is most certainly not for you.

One of the greatest things on earth!

One of the greatest things on earth!

So, what is a Cinnabon? Essentially, a Cinnabon is a cinnamon bun but in the most extraordinary way. Bigger, softer, chewier than it’s regular cinnamon bun counterparts. Cinnabon is a heart attack in a bun but almost worth it. I assume it’s called bon because it’s bon bon delicious!

I’ve always loved Cinnabon but I had always taken it for granted. Then, I moved abroad. And when you move abroad that’s when you start to see all the little things you took for everyday. Other examples include, dill pickle chips, Bar B Que sauce, swedish fish, tampons, wax strips, toilets that you can sit on (squat variety the worst)…ANYWAYS

It just hits you one day that you need a Cinnabon and you’ll just have to take my word for it because it is SUPERIOR TO ALL OTHER WESTERN BUNS (I can’t compare the Cinnabon to Asian buns – totally different). So, I live in Hong Kong. And there are no Cinnabons there  – (take note Cinnabon HQ, I think it would do well there!)

The closest Cinnabon to Hong Kong are Philippines, Malaysia and Japan. So what’s a girl to do? Fly to Tokyo.

Tokyo Cinnabon Store - Roppongi Location (sorry for crappy photo - was just so excited!)

Tokyo Cinnabon Store – Roppongi Location (sorry for crappy photo – was just so excited!)

On this day I bought 3 Cinnabons. First I bought 2 and my friend tried to pay me for one, and I was so confused…like Ohhhhhh you think I bought YOU one. No no. These 2 are just for me. Oink.

If you doubted I was in Tokyo, there it is, proof - the peace sign.

If you doubted I was in Tokyo, there it is, proof – the peace sign.

Maybe I should have bought more. My brother suggested I buy lots and just freeze them but if you’ve had one, you just want it right from the oven. On that day, I ate one in the store. I ate one that night in the airport and I brought one back home for my boyfriend because that’s #truelove.

So I guess I still haven’t answered why 6.8 billion people should eat a Cinnabon but you know, I never intended to right a blog post about this Cinnabon adventure and seeing how many photos I have of that time make me feel like a boss on Cinnabon. Cinnabon boss. And if I am a boss, that means I have authority, if I have authority, I can strongly suggest people do something and I strongly suggest you try a Cinnabon, life changing for sure.


Stories of angels…

I have 2 stories to share, there are others but I’ll start with these two. And I think it’s important to remember that the definition of angel (well my definition) is someone who appears in your life (you may already know them) and somehow, through gestures, words, or their presence, saves you – or shows you something that enriches you.

Stay with me. It will all become clear.

Angel Story #1

Back in the around 2007 time, roughly, give or take 2/3 years, plus or minus – my whole family went on a trip. There’s four of us. Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Angela Bear, and Baby Brother Bear who is actually only 2 years younger than I am.

The particular resort we were staying at had many sister resorts you could visit – and I was particularly interested in visiting Playa del Carmen. (I actually might be confusing this story with the time I went to Cozumel, but it doesn’t really matter).

Who wouldn't want to go here? Photo Credit: www.playa-delcarmen.com

Playa del Carmen –  Who wouldn’t want to go here? Photo Credit: www.playa-delcarmen.com

On our way there, just my brother and I on our own fun day trip, I happen to glance over to my right and low and behold – A STREET FOOD STAND!! Now, some background. I love street food. I like it’s authenticity – I feel very local and cultured, I want to try new things – usually it’s very tasty and I am quite adventurous even though my body will instantly reject a food it doesn’t like. And I mean, instantly.

My brother on the other hand is the definition of germaphobe – studied microbiology and immunology (read – GERMAPHOBE^100000000) and carries hand sanitiser on him as if it were his work pass (yes, it has a pulley mechanism to his belt – next level). And as I glanced to my right – my brother, also glanced to the right. As if the whole thing happened in slow motion – he read my mind and was like, “Annnngellllaaaaa, nooooooooo!!“.

TOO LATE! I was like, “YESSSSSSSSS” – hearts in my eyes <3 <3 and on my way to the not just any street food stand – THE TACO STAND. What! Real tacos in Mexico – SI HERMANO!!!

While you might thing the issue here was that my brother was freaking out over germs, and though that was part of the issue, the major issue was that we didn’t have enough money. We had just a couple of pesos on us. And Angela was sad. This taco truck was popular. Very very popular – and even though I no speak Espanol, I figured out that you can only buy tacos in 3 and how much they cost.

So here we are, grown children looking sad because we don’t have any money for street tacos and all the delicious glory that comes with. And then, an angel came along. Although maybe she was a hero.

And then, a hero came along.

She can be both – an angel and a hero. She can be Robbie and she can be Mariah, I love them both.

So – I hope you enjoyed the musical interlude. I digress. An angel came along. And she saw my brother and I with our cute Scottish fold eyes and insanely adorable little Chinese faces – and she was like “ajknfnowefiowefnjweg902392839” (Spanish for 3 tacos!!) – and she ordered us, and paid for 3 tacos.

WOW. The goodness of mankind. And, that’s not even the end. She announced, “Coke!” and she bought us a can of coke. Super nice, but this is more than just being a good samaritan. She’s an angel. After she paid for our coke – out of her purse she took out 2 plastic cups. One for each of us. Now, I don’t know about you (actually I do know about you) – NO ONE CARRIES AROUND PLASTIC CUPS. Just no one. And she had two. One for me and one for my hermano.  And we were the happiest kids you ever did see.

Stay tuned for next week’s angel story. To be continued…


Pescatarian, not presbyterian

Pescatarian, not presbyterian, sometimes this wording is confused by myself, or others. This is an update to my New Year’s Resolution’s Blogpost where I declare I will not eat meat for the month of January and what I mean by that is up until February 5th – seems like an arbitrary number but it’s the weekend before Chinese New Year, one of the biggest deals in the world.

So, I started this journey on January 2nd. But even then, I really started it January 3rd. I had every intention of starting it January 2nd but I accidentally ate a quiche with bacon in it. Sneaky, sneaky bacon.

615047_10151257492866679_1464214042_o.jpg

I made a bacon weave once. It’s like a heart attack blanket basically. And then I wrapped it around a log of scrambled eggs. I’m not sure if I am encouraging it or not.
Source: The Practical Cook

So it’s been 2.5 weeks. 

Here are some observations –

  • I feel lighter – just physically lighter, almost bouncier
  • I feel like I am “shedding” weight. I have this thing where at night, I lie on my side and squeeze my “bicep” – this is how I gauge my fatness – more arm wrap around, fatter, less arm wrap around the bicep, less fat. Everyone has their own techniques I guess. I did weigh myself, last week, I’ve lost 1 pound since last week.
  • I’m having a hard time with eating out – and I will elaborate…

Though I am not a huge meat eater, I’ve always been turned off by vegetarianism because it restricts choice at meal times and makes my life harder. I chose to try this because I wanted a way to lower my carbon footprint. And I heard somewhere that giving up beef will lower carbon footprint more than cars will. Not just one person, but like everyone. Red meat uses a ton of resources to produce, land, water, food, shelter, heat etc and while I won’t go into the specifics because I don’t really know them, but I was and am interested in lowering my carbon footprint.

The thing is, this isn’t the land of vegetarian haven – I’m in Hong Kong, it’s very hard to find those cool meat veggie burgers or sausages – dumplings love to contain pork, and even salads can be a pain in the butt to find so the most difficulty so far is going out to eat. I’ve declined steak night, all you can eat Brazilian meat night, at the carnival I was limited to cheese pizza.

Tangent – the other reason I wanted to try this was because I saw a lot of vegetarians losing weight but they were still eating crap like cheese pizza, like cheese quesadilla, like grilled cheese sandwich, like pasta, french fries etc and I was like WHAT. I’ve basically given up dairy, and rarely have these wheat carbs so how can this be? So I’ve been more liberal in that arena and still lost one pound. Note: I’m not a Doctor, I don’t know what it all means.

Oh the other thing, back to beef – is I LOVE PHO. If there was one thing I could eat for the rest of my life it would be pho. And you know what? I ate some. Because, my friend wanted to go get some and I thought you know what THIS IS REAL LIFE PUT TO THE TEST. I will go to there, and see what pescatarian options they have. Well, they didn’t have any. So I had a bowl of pho. It was the best pho I’ve had in Hong Kong. It’s called the Brass Spoon, the noodles are divine. OBSERVATION: I felt heavy. Like seriously, the beef dragged me down.

  • Finally, I am extremely gasy. Maybe because I have a lot more fiber in my body but who knows. And, they stink. Like real bad.

12 Days of Angela Finale!

It's been 12 days of Angela or 8 (12) (11) crazy nights and by now, either you can't get enough or you've had just enough Angela.

Today's post is about comfort food. Mainly noodles. I LOVE NOODLES.

My biggest focus is always on ramen or rice noodles. I don't really like thick noodles, or as we like to say, tick.

Noodles are tasty because they are carbs. And carbs are an Asians bff. Asians, unlike most other races (Disclaimer: No idea of this is fact) can eat TONS O CARBS. In fact, we live off of it (hello, RICE!)

I love noodles because if they don't come in a delicious broth then they come in some sort of delicious sauce and both are usually accompanied with Sirachahahahah sauce! YUM! I love you rooster that has no significance to hot sauce!

Noodles are a standard Asian tasty as fuck food.


12 Days of Angela: Day 2!

Sunday is my favorite day for baking. Actually, lies, I don’t really like baking so it’s really whenever the mood strikes me, which is rare – playing around with flour is just the most exhausting idea. BUT if I were by chance in the mood to strike up the Betty Crocker in me for some holiday baking then I’d make ICED SUGAR COOKIES!!!!!!!!!!! One of my most favorite holiday treats!

I loooooove iced cookies, like looooove! It is one of several keys to my heart.

What You’ll Need for 3-5 dozen cookies:

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

How to Make YUMMY COOKIES!

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Cream the margarine and add the sugar gradually. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt gradually to the creamed mixture, stirring in by hand. Cover and chill dough overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and cut into your favorite shapes. Place cookies onto the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 6 to 8 minutes or until cookie has a golden appearance  – careful they don’t burn!
  7. Let cookies cool and if you have energy leftover – ice them! Or just eat them! *Aggressive YUM!