Chef Chat, Part 3: Minh Nguyen of Café TH
Photos by Tam Vo
First up with that evening's dinner special: papaya and shrimp noodle salad. This special was made with very fine vermicelli rice noodles. The noodles, papaya and shrimp are tossed in a dressing that's sweet and sour with a little kick from the Thai chili peppers. The salad is topped with fried shallots, minced mint leaves and peanuts.
Next up was some pho. Nguyen stews the pho bones for a minimum of 24 hours, resulting in a dark broth (the paler the broth, the less time the bones have been stewed). Nguyen told us that the flank steak is cut in house and is typically frozen before cutting so that it can be sliced very thin.
Nguyen is very proud of Café TH's egg rolls, which he said are built upon an already great recipe. The egg rolls are wrapped in rice paper instead of the standard egg wrappers. The filling consists of pork, carrots, mushrooms, cellophane noodles and jicama.
We finished off the meal with fried bananas. The ripe bananas were fried in a batter that Nguyen divulged contained cornstarch to add some extra crispiness while keeping the banana soft and moist. The fried banana was drizzled with honey, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with vanilla bean ice cream.
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