Tea time: Trà Viêt Tea, Vietnam

Trà Viêt Tea
http://www.traviet.com/en/

I’m usually pretty consistent with my Monday morning blog posts, so big apologies for missing yesterday – unfortunately, being knocked out with a migraine most of Sunday wasn’t real conductive to blogging time! It did make for a good excuse to rest and drink tea, though, so I thought that’s what I’d post about this morning – my favourite green tea purchased from Vietnam 🙂 Someone asked me after I got back from Vietnam if I did much shopping and what I bought over there. When I told them I’d pretty much just bought a whole lot of tea, they looked a little perplexed; what they didn’t know was that tea has been my souvenir of choice for a few years now.

It’s incredible how making and sipping on a pot of tea you’ve made with tea leaves you bought in a market in Chicago or on the side of a street in Hoi An or at a cute little café in New York can bring all of those good holiday memories and feels flooding right back 🙂 So, when I spotted the little Trà Viêt tea stall set up on the street in Hoi An, I was like a moth to the flame.

img_6784

This lovely lady kindly let me choose a variety of tea to try, and took us through a little tea ceremony, demonstrating exactly how to brew the tea I’d chosen – a pandan ginseng green tea. Turns out that the best way to brew this particular one is to add the leaves into the pot, and fill with water at around 80°C (or, roughly 1 part cold water to 4 parts boiling). Pour the water out immediately, and refill the pot again, steeping the leaves for no more than a minute.

You get an utterly delicious green tea with that distinct pandan flavour (which I absolutely LOVE!) – it’s the perfect morning pot of tea, and I do try to make time most weekends to slow down and enjoy a pot (or two) before I get going – you can easily get two or three infusions from these leaves, too, which makes them even more perfect for me 🙂

Trà Viêt is quite popular in Vietnam, and sold all around the country; I’ve been trying to source a website that sells it online, too, and the closest I’ve been able to find is here, although they don’t ship everywhere… I plan to email Trà Viêt directly when I’m close to running out and checking if they can post me some more! Otherwise, another trip to Vietnam wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing… If you have a visit coming up, though, I’d recommend a tea stop with them – they have a pretty big range, and you can always ask for a demonstration so you can learn the proper way to brew your tea

Eating the city: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam

There’s really no such thing as bad food in Saigon, but there were definitely favourites that were done exceptionally well. Here’s what to look out for when you eat your way around the city…

 

Pandan waffles.
Soft and hot and chewy and ridiculously delicious, this is the street corner dessert dreams are made of. Don’t let the weird green colour put you off; look for it like a beacon if happiness when you pass the ladies on the streets manning their little carts.

img_6401-7
Banh mi.
Preferably pork. Don’t screw your nose up at the slathering of patê, because it’s magic mixed in with the pork and fresh herbs. The fresh baguettes have a shell like glass covering the cloud-soft inner. This was breakfast for us every morning in Saigon, and at under AUD$2.00 each, you’d be crazy not to!

img_6467
Fresh spring rolls.
If you see spring rolls on a menu, and you have the option for fresh and fried, try the fresh ones occasionally. When you’re hot and sweaty from walking around the city, sometimes a fresh prawn rice paper roll with a cold iced tea is exactly what you need without even realising it.

img_6493
Bun cha.
Again, preferably pork. Because a big bowl of vermicelli topped with juicy pork and fresh herbs and pickled veggies is the ultimate night market meal at the end of a big day. And out of Hoi An, Hanoi and Saigon, I liked the Saigon version best!

img_6593

Cook this: coconut pandan oat & matcha chia parfait

So, last Saturday night was Oktoberfest. The man cave was transformed into a beer hall. Several batches of pretzels were baked. Several more batches of pretzels cookies, too. And schnitzels, potato salad, gravy… There was a lot to do, and while Friday night was reserved for the bulk of it, but there was still plenty left to do Saturday morning before everyone arrived.

With all that coming and my inability to work on an empty stomach, I knew I was gonna need a decent breakfast. It had been a pretty long, challenging, sleepless week, so by Friday night I was mentally and physically exhausted. With a big day ahead, I wanted to treat myself to something a little nicer than my regular overnight oats to start the day.

My usual overnight oats consists of oats, chia seeds, protein powder, almond milk and yoghurt thrown into a tub, shaken violently, and topped with whatever is in the pantry – coconut flakes, pepitas, goji berries, chocolate chips, anything goes. I also found this absolutely unreal pandan kaya custard type stuff at ARC Asian Grocers at the Preston Market that I’m loving with my morning oats at the moment. I thought I’d try to add that in with the shredded coconut (because matcha and coconut are delicious together) and seperate the chia and oats for something a bit different – takes a bit of effort, but the different layers makes it look and taste great! Actually, that’s not entirely truthful – it doesn’t take much effort at all…

For one serve:

Chia layer:
– 1 tbsp chia seeds
– ½ tsp matcha powder
– 5 tbsp milk (again, I use almond milk, but coconut milk would be perfect as well)

Combine all of the ingredients in a jar or plastic tub and shake well to combine. Set it aside for 10 minutes, going back to give it a quick stir every few minutes.

 

Oat layer:
– 1 heaped tbsp plain yoghurt
– ½ cup milk (I use almond)
– heaped ⅓ cup oats
– 1 scoop (approx 8-10g) protein powder of your choice – I really love the Amazonia vanilla for this!
– 1 tbsp shredded coconut
– 2 tbsp pandan custard

Put the yoghurt, milk and protein powder in a jar or plastic tub and shake until well combined. Add in the oats and coconut and shake again, the set aside.

Once the chia pudding has set and gelled a little, the oats should have soaked up a bit of the milk; stir the pandan custard through the oats.

To assemble, just spoon half the oats into a glass or jar, followed by half the chia, the rest of the oats and the rest of the chia on top. That simple!