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Friday, February 18, 2005

Vietnam in Northern Virginia 

I made a trip to Eden Center during lunch — a little bit of Vietnam in Seven Corners, Virginia — and came back with some noodles (上海類麵 wheat noodles, instead of proper bhàn phở because Evelin's not so keen on rice noodles), nước mắm chay pha sẵn "special sauce for vegetarians," some purple basil and tương ăn phở/hoisin sauce for garnish, and a package of phở spices — star anise, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, and green and black cardamom pods (at least I think it's package of phở spices, it says "giá vị nấu phở dăc biẹt" on the label). I don't imagine I'll be using all of those: I don't think I saw nutmeg in any of the phở recipes I dug up (Now that I look more closely at the pack, it's a fairly big black cardamom pod, not nutmeg). I also picked up some soup ǎn chay vegetable broth, just in case I don't figure out a broth option before we want to eat.

The broth's label promises: "From the selection of raw materials to remain original deliciousness of flavors, sterilized under hygienic food processing technology, it gives a good taste and can be easy to used at all the time."

Evelin was going to the grocery and was going to pick up onions and scallions for me, but I still need some ginger, as well as mung bean sprouts and napa cabbage for garnish, so I'll probably make a stop at one of the nearby Chinese groceries on the way home ...

While poking around the Eden Supermarket, I ran across a display of Asian vegetable seeds. We're still trying to figure out what we'll plant this year, but I picked up some Pai Tsai bok choy seeds. It looks like they grow pretty quickly (14–21 days to harvest, according to the package ... that seems GMO quick, maybe it's 14–21 days from germination?), so I figured they might be fun to experiment with.

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