Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

On really hot summer nights, I love having a delicious cold salad for dinner instead of a hot and heavy meal. It's also good to not have to slave away in the kitchen and sweat even more from cooking using the hot stove. This recipe is an excellent Asian salad dish that is refreshing, light yet fulfilling. The flavours pack a good punch too. I always tend to make extra sauce and a huge batch each time I make this salad - as it stores well in the fridge for lunch the next day. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I always do!

1 packet (250g) rice noodles
1 small packet of Coleslaw Mix
4-5 large Limes, juice freshly squeezed
1/2 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
5 cloves of garlic
1 cup fresh bean shoots
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 cup loosely chopped fresh mint
1 cup loosely chopped fresh coriander
1 cup crushed peanuts
5 tbsp white sugar
5 tbsp fish sauce
Extra mint leaves for garnish

Using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic with coriander and jalapeno peppers. Transfer the mixture into a bowl, add the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar, stir well. Leave the sauce to sit for 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rice noodles, boil for 2 minutes, then drain well. Rinse the noodles with cold water then drain well again.

Combine the noodles, coleslaw mix, bean shoots, cucumber, mint, and sauce in a large salad bowl. Toss well and serve salad garnished with crushed peanuts and mint leaves.

Dew Drop Inn Tea House @ Nan Tien Temple

During our recent roadtrip to Wollongong, NSW (read full blog post on our roadtrip here) we visited the Nan Tien Temple in Berkeley and had lunch at the Dew Drop Inn Tea House located just at the Ground Floor of the Temple. The Tea House only serves Vegetarian dishes - so I was very intrigued and was looking forward to tasting some classic Chinese meat dishes but using "fake meat".

The Tea House at Nan Tien Temple
Inside the Tea House
Spring Rolls
Curry Puffs
I didn't try the Spring Rolls but the Curry Puffs were actually pretty average. I wasn't very impressed with the pastry and the filling is just standard and nothing to rave about.

Five Spiced Roll
The Five Spiced Roll was a little bit better. I loved the texture as it actually tasted as if it had some meaty texture in it, but the flavours were not outstanding.

Vegetarian Drumsticks
The vegetarian drumsticks were a little bit disappointing as I actually expected them to be "Fake Chicken Drumsticks" but I was wrong, it was called "Vegetarian Drumsticks" and they didn't promise me a Chicken-like taste so why would I expect to eat something that would taste like chicken? It LOOKS like chicken though, which was quite disturbing for my vegetarian sister in law, haha.

"Mince" Rice
Onto our main meals which were so much better than the appetizers. Hubby ordered the "Mince" Rice which was actually pretty good. I'm not sure what the fake "mince" is made of, possibly soy, but it actually came pretty close to tasting like actual mince even though the texture is slightly different.

The "Noodle Station"
I ordered a Noodle dish so had to go to ANOTHER QUEUE at the "Noodle Station" to collect my freshly prepared meal. The queue moved reallyyyyyy slow at the Noodle Station. How very annoying. There were two ladies preparing noodles and they were quite slow in getting the orders done. I think I waited close to 30 minutes in that queue!! Also didn't help that it was such a busy day with so many people having lunch at the Tea House. It was quite frustrating...

"Char Sao" Noodles
Was it worth the wait? I'd say UHH YEAH! My "Char Sao" aka Char Siu Noodles were spot on. The "fake pork" was extremely tasty and I loved the soft texture possibly more than the real thing! It just melts in your mouth and the sauce was spot on too. Finally something GOOD to really say about the food we had here. Perhaps it was just way too busy for us to really enjoy our lunch experience, perhaps it was the slow queues, perhaps it was the hot and uncomfortable weather.. but eventually this noodle dish made the decision to try vegetarian food worthwhile.

Green Tea Milkshake
We finished off our meals with a Green Tea Milkshake. Mmmm.. any milkshake is good anyday so I can't complain. This was very yummy and we drank it way too quickly. Nuts, just as I am writing this now and looking at the photo of the milkshake I am suddenly craving for another milkshake.

Homemade Fried Chicken

I must admit I have this huge food weakness... fried chicken. It is one of my favorite sinful food indulgence. I love KFC and I love Southern Fried Chicken from the takeaway shops. I also love my "secret recipe" homemade fried chicken except I hate deep frying at home because my kitchen feels rather greasy afterwards and cleaning is a pain.

Either way, I love fried chicken and I just thought I'd share that. Sorry I can't share my "secret recipe" homemade fried chicken... lol sorry for being a tease with this blog post ;)