Asian food and flavors are often bold and colorful, dishes that evolved in home kitchens using accessible, affordable- and, perhaps most importantly, local- produce and ingredients. It’s the reason East Meets West “fusion” cuisine is so popular; when you combine classic Western cooking techniques with palate-exploding Asian flavors, the result can be amazing.
But another type of fusion is winning the hearts of foodies everywhere: Asian Meets Asian, which marries flavors and techniques from different Asian cultures. We’re talking Indonesian Meets Japanese.
It’s not far-fetched at all. Ethnic minority communities around the world have been doing it for years; Filipino dishes in many Manila restaurants have a marked Chinese flavor (the Philippines is home to the oldest China Town in the world, after all). A restaurant in Los Angeles’ Korea Town serves up Vietnamese Pho with a side order of kimchi; it doesn’t sound so crazy when you consider the history between the two Asian nations, and the existence of Lai Dai Han, which is a person of mixed ancestry born to a South Korean father and a Vietnamese mother (many of whom were Vietnam Comfort Women during the war).
So here’s today’s recipe: Not-So-Classic Vietnamese Pho, made with Korean-style Beef. Try it with some kimchi on the side; you’ll love it.
- Cook 8 oz. rice noodles, rinse (so it doesn’t stick together) and set aside.
- In a large pot over high heat on the stove, sear about 12 oz. thinly sliced beef. Do this quickly, then transfer to a bowl. In the same pot, add 2 onions, halved, and some sliced ginger. Cook until onions are slightly transparent, then add 3 cups beef broth and 3 cups water.
- Spice it up! At this point, we like to add a cinnamon stick and maybe some star anise. Give it a good slosh of Asian fish sauce. Switch the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- While this is simmering, thinly slice some scallions and tear up some cilantro. Wash and dry some bean sprouts. Set these aside.
- Finally: assemble the Pho! Take 4 bowls and divide the noodles among them. Pour in the soup, and top with the beef, scallions, cilantro, and bean sprouts. Serve with a side of Sriracha and kimchi.