Food

Family day is a time for love, nourishment, rice

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For me, family day is about spending time with loved ones and eating simple, delicious food. The staple in my parent’s household is sticky rice. In fact, did you know the Lao word for ‘rice’ is the same word for ‘food’?

Sticky rice or ‘glutinous’ rice takes patience but it’s easy to make. Simply visit your local Asian supermarket and grab a bag of sticky rice. For the best results, soak the rice overnight in water (or for a minimum of three hours). The next day, steam the rice for 15-20 minutes on either side. I like to use a bamboo basket, a pot, and a lid (to keep the steam inside the basket). Once the rice is done, I spread the sticky goodness onto a non-stick mat and use a wooden paddle to gently remove the excess steam.

When I moved out of the house my mom made sure to equip me with all the necessary instruments for making sticky rice. She made me a non-stick mat from turning the rice bag inside out and cutting it into a square. She also cut the bag into a circle and placed it in the bottom of another bamboo basket to keep the rice from sticking. This second basket is for storage, but rice doesn’t last long in my house!

For me, rice isn’t a side dish. It’s the main course. The best way to eat sticky rice is also the simplest way. I roll a portion of the rice into a ball, sprinkle it with salt, and enjoy. It’s simple and delicious. And it reminds me of my family and the time we spend together at the dinner table.

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My bamboo basket of sticky rice was featured on the Gastropost section of The National Post.

(Note: Remember sticky rice is different from your everyday white rice because it’s stickier, denser, and more filling. It also doesn’t keep as long since you can’t refrigerate it like other rice. It’s best eaten fresh. )

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Food

Enjoy a bowl of phở on a cool autumn day

One of the dishes that reminds me of home is the rice-noodle dish, phở. I remember my mom spending a whole day making the complex and flavourful broth from choice cuts of beef, marrow, and seasonings. The aroma of phở broth still takes me back to my childhood.

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I like to begin with tea and fresh rolls before a bowl of phở.

When I moved to Toronto, I was on a food mission: I wanted to find the best and most authentic bowl of phở in the city. When I sat down and ate my first bowl of phở at Phở Linh on College and Dufferin, I knew I had accomplished my phở mission.

I made sure to ask for their homemade noodles. It was well worth it. The noodles had substance but they were also melt in your mouth. The warm broth was magnificent especially on a cool autumn afternoon, and the beef was rare and tender. I topped the dish with bean sprouts, Thai basil, and a squeeze of lime; the dish already comes garnished with cilantro and green onions. I also added the smallest amount of Hoisin sauce because I like to maintain the purity of the broth; it’s already full of complex flavours so why mess up a good thing? The thing I love the most about phở is that it’s both comforting and refreshing.

If you happen to be in the College and Dufferin area, check out Phở Linh. It may just transport you back to your own childhood.

Note: Make sure you bring cash because they don’t take credit and they don’t have an ATM machine.

Phở Linh Restaurant
1156 College St
Toronto, ON M6H 1B5
(416) 516-3891

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