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Oct06

Our not-so-recent dinner menu (oysters & quails & mackerel & ducks! oh my!)

Wherever we’ve lived, we’ve become known among friends for elaborate, fancy dinners (but bring your own chairs). The shindigs serve multiple purposes: it’s fun to play restaurant and we love the occasions to cook together; they allow us to work out and organize into a menu the many random ideas we’ve collected; they let us hang out with our friends and provides us with, in the form of those selfsame friends, guinea pigs to test newest creations on.

This dinner was no different. Taking advantage of Lamp’s rare long visit to the bay area, we decided to hold a dinner with 4 originally planned courses that ballooned to 12 by the time our guests arrived. The menu was a mix of repeats of past successes (roasted salted kumquat quails, sake kasu marinated cod, forbidden rice amazake), brand new creations (bossam-inspired oysters, mackerel braised in green/barley tea, duck dishes, etc.), and cookbook recipe (tomato soup with yuba cream). The dishes were rooted in Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese cuisines but each had a twist marking them as a product of our kitchen. We took care with each dish to provide a different view, one that incorporated new ingredients available in a modern multicultural society, without obscuring the unique characteristics that made the traditional version so appealing.

Mackerel braised in barley tea

But wait, there’s more!

Sep10

Chim cút nướng quất/tắc muối / Roasted kumquat quails

We’re excited to share with you a real simple dish we created that’s been a runaway hit at every dinner we’ve served it. At the heart of the dish is our love for the flavor of salted kumquats, with its floral citrus scent transformed into an earthy and complex ancient aroma after months of aging. That flavor paired with juicy, just slightly gamey quails proved to be a winning combination, one that we haven’t encountered anywhere else.

Roasted kumquat quail - photo courtesy of Elaine Vo

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