BBQ is big in Southeast Asia, particularly street bbq. Likely because it’s a simple way to cook whatever food they happen to have, and requires only a simple basting and charcoals.
Generally served family-style, and oftentimes cooked at the table. Family-style servings are big here in general- you’re given one spoon and an array of multiple shared plates with meats, veggies, stews and rice are spread out before you.
BBQ is the same idea- but more fun because there’s action involved. Perhaps also dangerous because they don’t always pre-cook the meat for you. And you just hope that you know when squid and frog are supposed to be done.
[..eek, frog leg!]
We’ve had a few communal BBQ dinners so far..one in Luang Prabang and a couple in Hanoi. The meal in Laos required us to do all of the cooking, and it was in a restaurant. In Hanoi, it’s all pre-grilled and with a light seasoning.. and the grill at the table is really only for keeping things warm. There was certainly less confusion that way-and less eyeing our neighbors to see how the heck they were cooking their egg…
In Vietnam, we got to pick out what exactly we wanted from a selection out on the display table. They then cook it over coals for you which gives it that really lovely smokiness to it.
Our favorites were the beef-wrapped enoki, okra and tofu. We also got squid, crab, corn, & green beans. The surprising highlight tour BBQ in Vietnam was the kimchi they served on the side a it was the BEST kimchi I’ve ever had! For 2 of us to get a full mail, with beer, was only 177,000 dong- like 8 dollars.
In Laos, we ordered a sort of variety platter, and everything was brought to us raw – so we truly cooked our own. There were a variety of meats – squid, chicken, buffalo, shrimp – and vegetables (greens and tomato) and egg.
How to cook the egg?! We broke it into the broth and let it poach – then scooped it onto frying surface to crisp up / scramble. Apparently- the way to do it is to tap the egg on one end, then the other, creating holes on each end- then put a chopstick through it and shake the egg over the grill so that the contents are distributed everywhere.