So I bloated myself silly today at the Asian American Festival downtown. This is my 2nd year in going, and it was just as tasty as it was last year. I mostly grazed on side items as, since there are so many ethnicities represented, I just can’t get an entire dinner at one place alone. That, and I’m a sucker for things that are pod-shaped and/or deep fried.
The Bangladeshi table was the largest table there, and I nibbled on multiple things from them:
The bottom two are tuna kabobs, essentially tuna + spices + stuff tossed into a deep fryer. They were rather tasty, and gave me some ideas for new and interesting things to attempt with canned tuna. Fluffy thing on the right is a shingara, consisting of pastry stuffed with items (potatoes, peas, seasonings) and deep fried (noticing a theme yet?). Also rather tasty, and really needed something to dip it in to quell the spiciness. The booklet (received at the festival) that is providing me with all of this info about the foodstuffs mentions that said shingara comes with a sweet tamarind sauce, but alas, I never got in on that action it seems. The dark ball to the top left may or may not be a roshogolla. According to the booklet, that’s the only sweet that fits the definition, but when I do a google image search for roshogolla, the picture results look nothing like it, aside from a gooey ball shape. D’oh! In any case, they are delicious and filled with joy.
Next up, my attempt to be healthy at the Cambodian booth, with a chicken and vegetable salad:
This has chicken and noodles and infinite amounts of vegetables in it. The flavor rather resembles some Vietnamese salads I’ve had. I really like this sort of salad, it is filled with flavor and nutrients and joy and all that rot. If only I had the patience and ambition to buy approximately 837498237827943 different vegetables and shred them up super-thin. The closest I can get is making green papaya salad, only because I can at least buy the papaya pre-shredded at Tan-A.
And lastly, we have the food from the “Indonesia and Singapore” table.
I appreciated that a.) what they mostly had at this table were little side items and b.) offered super great combos like “get 4 for $3!”. So the little green tubes are kueh dadar, they are filled with coconut and sweetness and are an excellent dessert item. I got an extra to take back to Drew, but, quite conveniently for me, he is not a fan of coconut so I got to eat the second one as well. On the left is another “potato in dough that is deep-fried” item, simply called a potato curry puff. This was fluffier then the similar Bangladeshi item from earlier, and didn’t have quite the spicy kick. I greatly enjoyed it, the puff melted in my mouth quite divinely. The leafy item is a lempur, and inside it’s leaf resided rice and chicken and various nefarious flavorings, also quite tasty.
So there were several other tables I didn’t get to, and I must confess that I have my biases. Considering that the only times in my life I’ve ever had access to Bangladeshi food have been at this food festival, and considering that I can drive about 8 minutes from my apartment and reach at least 8 different Vietnamese restaurants, I’m just not all that likely to get Vietnamese at a festival such as this. There’s also the fact that, due to my having eaten a large amount of Vietnamese food (and Chinese and Thai, for that matter) in my lifetime, I’ve got preexisting preferences for how I like food to taste, and am better at recognizing when the food I’m eating simply isn’t very good. However, if I’m eating a type of food I’ve never tried before, I have no means of gauging if it’s actually any good, and the novelty alone will cause me to enjoy the food, even if a more seasoned consumer of such foods would recognize it to be mediocre.
Anyhow, I highly recommend checking out the festival….next spring. Mark your calendars!