Friday, August 12, 2011

Rosemead: 7 Course Beef!

Hello! Didn't mean to neglect oolongmilktea lately but really, I just didn't have anything! Haven't had the chance to try new things, until this past weekend, Connie graciously treated Diana, Michael, and I to a feast, specifically, the infamous Seven Course Beef!

Now... I'll be trying my hardest with the names and the description since I actually don't know much about Vietnamese food. Heck, my first time having pho was in college! In fact, my exposure to Vietnamese food is just... pho, broken rice, egg & spring rolls, and fried rice. Sad, I know.

Seven course beef, aka Bo 7 Mon, is essentially a planned meal with 7 different dishes, all involving beef! Beef is served in a variety of ways and quite hands on, since for some dishes you cook right at the table. Connie took us to Thien An in Rosmead, which is a restaurant that specializes for Bo 7 Mon, as well as being known for their BBQ catfish.

Thien An Bo 7 Mon
8837 Valley Blvd
Rosemead, CA 91770

thien an
Located in a pretty old plaza right off Valley Blvd. Doesn't look like much but the place is HUGE.

You are given lots of rice paper to make your own springrolls. All sorts of veggie provided so you can customize! Lettuce, basil, and mint are a few of the more familiar ones.

pickled carrots & daikon and cucumber
Cucumber, raw plantains, beansprouts, and pickled daikon & carrots. More things to customize your springrolls with!

5 types of sauces that you can add.

2 types of fish sauce & lemon grass
Lemongrass, fish sauce, and a super fish sauce. Sorry, I don't know the name of the super potent fish sauce haha. Just know that... it is super strong and actually smells like the fermented tofu that Chinese people eat.

small catfish
First up, BBQ Catfish! Fried SMALL catfish then topped with scallions and peanuts.

Sup buddy.

crispy skin
Really pretty and colorful dish. The skin of the catfish is fried to perfection. Nice contrasting textures with the flesh of the fish.

catfish springroll with lemongrass
My creation for the first springroll of this meal: catfish with a little of skin, cucumber, pickled veggies, mint, basil, lemongrass, and some fish sauce. Tasty :]

goi bo
Onto the 7 courses! First up, Goi Bo, a beef salad. The dressing might have been something close to Italian dressing, but there's a lot of ingredients: beef (of course), shrimp, mint, celery, red onions, and fried shallots are just a few.

goi bo
Love all the colors! Very flavorful dish and a nice way to start.

beef slices for bo nhung dam
Next up, bo nhung, which is like a beef shabu shabu. Raw slices of beef quickly boiled at the table in broth.

bo nhung dam
Don't know what the broth is... but there's a piece of ginger in it!

make your own springrolls
Again, wrap your own springroll! Can't really see it but there's actually a rice paper on the place! Simple & delicious.

bo la lot & bo nuong mo chai

bo la lot
Bo La Lot is the long meatball wrapped with betel leaf, which gives it a herbaceous and peppery aroma, grilled over a charcoal grill. At first, the betel leaf tasted like the shiso leaf Japanese use a lot but milder.

bo nuong mo chai
Bo Nuong Mo Chai, beef meatball, is my absolute favorite. It is juicy, fatty, and flavorful. The grilled flavor makes it even tastier. Wrap it with some veggies, drizzle with a little fish sauce, and add a dab of hot sauce. Yakitori? Psh.

bo cha dum
Bo Cha Dum. The best way I can describe this is a Asian meatloaf made with ground beef, glass noodles, peas, and peanuts

shrimp cracker
You use the shrimp cracker to scoop up with Bo Cham Dum!

bo nuong sa
Bo Nuong Sa, which is beef marinated with lemongrass. At Thien An, you cook it on the table top using the cast iron skillet!

hot cast iron plate
Cast iron skillet all oiled up ;)

lemongrass marinade
AHHHH that marinade/sauce/heavenly goodness was delicious.

I was so sad when the marinade got stuck to the skillet hahah.

lemon grass marinade
Sizzling away! Again, you wrap it with rice paper or just dip it in sauce.

chao bo
The last course, Chao Bo, is a type of beef congee soup. Here, they add alphabet soup! Usually not a big fan of congee, but congee with beef stock? Okay!

beef congee with alphabet soup
What alphabets do you see?

What a great experience for my first Bo 7 Mon! I love how you can improvise on how to eat and what to eat. Less or more veggies? More sauce? Spicy? There's so many combinations! I can say perhaps one of the best finger food experience I've had.

Again, thanks to Connie for taking us to Thien An, which is a fairly well-known for their Seven Course Beef. Thanks for teaching us n00bs about the side of Vietnamese cuisine we have not seen yet!