Asian restaurants abound in our area, as do specialty grocery stores and annual food festivals, including the Pacific Rim Street Fest and the Japanese Food and Cultural Bazaar. Here are five Asian dishes that showcase the captivating nature of these eclectic cuisines.
Pad Prig Khing Moo
Ruen Thai, Roseville
This is a complicated name for a simple and sublime combination of chewy sliced pork, soft-cooked green beans and a fire-up-your-tongue housemade chili paste. Intensely flavored and especially satisfying when piled on white rice, this wonderful dish needs to be partnered with a cool, crisp Thai beer.
1470 Eureka Road, Roseville, (916) 774-1499
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Sacramento
This delightful appetizer offers a host of fun contrasts—hot/cold, salty/sweet and soft/crunchy. It’s also fun to prepare. You grab a prettily curled iceberg lettuce leaf, spoon some of the salty-savory minced chicken mixture into it, plunge the messy package into its accompanying sweetish, thick sauce, and cram it in your mouth. Date food it ain’t—it often falls apart along the way, but it sure tastes good.
1530 J St., Sacramento, (916) 288-0970
Lemon Grass Restaurant, Sacramento
This fascinating crepe, offered only on Tuesdays, is beautifully presented and wonderfully delicate. The plate-sized crepe is prepared from rice flour and coconut milk, and—due to an addition of turmeric—is colored a bright yellow. It’s stuffed with chunks of chicken, prawns and bean sprouts, and is served with a piquant fish sauce and a heap of radiantly fresh herbs, including basil and mint.
601 Munroe St., Sacramento, (916) 486-4891
New Lai Wah, Sacramento
Absolutely irresistible, this colorful dish is an exuberant example of fine Chinese cuisine. Large spears of asparagus and sweet, succulent prawns are battered, fried, then salted and tossed with thin-sliced green and red chilis. It arrives hot and fragrant, and you’d better eat fast—this is one dish that will disappear faster than you can say “New Lai Wah.”
5912 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, (916) 428-6183
Mixed Vegetables in Green Curry
Fat’s Asia Bistro, Folsom and Roseville
If your tummy’s growling for a heap o’ vegetables, race to Fat’s Asia Bistro. The restaurant offers up a hot pile of colorful veggies—asparagus, snap peas, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, bok choy and carrots—coated in an exotic, spicy green curry sauce. This is a great way to get your 5-a-Day, and wake up your senses in the process.
2585 Iron Point Road, Folsom, (916) 983-1133
1500 Eureka Blvd., Roseville, (916) 787-3287