Today was a lazy day. For breakfast/lunch I had 2 pork buns that I had in the freezer. For my mid-afternoon snack I was going to have a tomato cut into chunks with some salt and pepper but I then had the idea to add a few squirts of fish sauce (a little fish sauce goes a long way!), some peanuts, and laphet. It was delicious. I didn’t have dinner till 10:30 PM. I left Gainesville at 8:30 PM and stopped into my sister’s apartment in Tampa around 10:30 PM to see how she was doing. I had a leftover Olive Garden breadstick and take-out chicken lo mein. The lo mein was too bland, just chicken and lo mein noodles tossed in lots of oil and there were tiny strips of green onion, snow peas, and onion. The chicken pieces were okay, but I marinade my chicken with Xiao Hsing cooking wine and that makes a world of difference. Take-out places should start doing that. I don’t know what I’ll ever do without Xiao Hsing. I was hungry enough though that I ate all of the lo mein (almost a quart?) cold straight out of the take-out box. The breadstick was disappointing. I can’t blame them though; they’re not really meant to be eaten cold. I’ve only had Olive Garden’s breadsticks once before and they were great fresh. Soft and warm. That was my only visit to Olive Garden. Didn’t like it. I believe I ordered shrimp alfredo. What was I thinking? Shrimp, cream, and a ton of pasta? No, Thank you. I’m not a big fan of Italian food like I’ve said before. Then again, It could just be the Americanized Italian food. I’m not really sure how authentic Italian food compares to the likes of Olive Garden and Carrabba’s. If it’s anything like comparing take-out Chinese and authentic Chinese cuisine, authentic Italian food has to be good.
I’ll make a few comments about fish sauce. It comes in a bottle with a squid on the label and you can find it in any Asian grocery store. You won’t find it in the Publix Asian section anytime soon since its got a very fishy smell, for lack of a better description. It’s great in congee and salads (“thote” in Burmese). Laphet is Burmese pickled tea leaves. You won’t find in any other country besides Burma. So good luck getting it unless you know someone coming from Burma. Once you get some though, they last forever in the refrigerator. My family always has a supply of it. I don’t know how to describe the taste. It has a bitter tea taste and there’s a very strong after taste. It’s definitely an acquired taste. Even tea aficionado’s might not like it. Traditionally it’s served as “laphet thote.” It consists of laphet, fried garlic chips, and a variety of roasted bits (fried yellow split peas, peanuts, seasame seeds, and fried yellow beans). You can also add chili peppers, dehydrated shrimp, fish sauce, lime juice, tomatoes, and shredded cabbage. Usually, laphet thote is served to guests in a shallow dish with compartments for each ingredient. Then the guests can put mix their own.
I could go on forever about dehydrated shrimp and laphet, but those will be in another post. I don’t want to start writing a whole book. One thing I’ve found on other food blogs I read is that there isn’t too much text and if there is they are broken up with vibrant pictures so that it doesn’t seem like you’re reading a freakin’ novel. Don’t worry though, I found my camera and I’ll be going to either Kazu’s or Raw Bar Sushi tomorrow for dinner. Expect pictures and my first review!
Love and Peace,