Live and Let Fry

My Dutch-Indonesian mother thinks that all Asian dishes have to be made according to her recipe. The first time I bought her a portion of pad thai, she was amazed. ‘Crushed peanuts on top of fried noodles is a no-go. Lime? It’s a meal, not a cocktail.’ The fact that there are more ways to fry noodles than Melania Trump has dresses and that this was just the way this typical Thai dish should be made, didn’t seem to convince her. ‘It’s not correct. It should be made with meat or shrimp, garlic, soy sauce, spring onions and celery.’ Well mum, in this case I don’t think less is more. I just love the rich noodles of Thai restaurant/takeaway Mae Somjai. So good that the cooks combine shrimps, tofu, bean sprouts, greens, peanuts and lime. Have a seat in this pretty basic restaurant and see how the ladies ‘walk the wok’: quick, efficient and with great results. It reminded me of a small restaurant in Ko Lanta serving only one pad thai. While the mother was cooking, the youngest kid was sipping juice out of a coconut. Get the picture?

Mae Somjaj
Pad thai with shrimp, one, € 13.50
Koningsstraat 25, City Centre (Chinatown)
+31 (0) 6 51 17 50 49

Puff Babies

foto-78CORLyon, Résidence Universitaire André Allix. At that place I ate my first éclair. My Brasilian friend Fabiano gave it to me: ‘Trish, close your eyes and have a bite.’ I did what I was told. The lightest, airiest pastry I had ever tasted, an icing of pure chocolate, custard-like cream with vanilla. Hallelujah! Who created this? Years later the éclairs of Betty Blue made me scream the H-word again. In this mini-museum, patisserie and coffee spot in one you’ll find two lovely bakers: Yvette and Clara. Yvette has been baking for the last six years at her coffee place T Eten en Drinken. Clara is an enthusiastic baker too. These ladies sure know how to make éclairs. This dough of these babies consists of butter, water, eggs and flour and is supposed to puff up in the oven until it’s eventually set by the heat. What you’ll find inside depends on your mood. When you’re feeling blue you just want your fillings to be fresh and fruity, don’t you? These three are an excellent choice: passion fruit with lime, coconut with mango and rosewater with mint. Guess Betty Blue would like them too. This name refers to Clara’s favourite film. It shows the mental decline of a beautiful and vibrant woman, played by Béatrice Dalle. It’s a superb, intense French movie. One to watch.

Betty Blue
Fruity éclairs, €3.10 (1), €14.00 (5), €25.00 (10)
Snoekjessteeg 1-3, City Centre
+31 (0) 6 1677 03 75
Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 8am-6pm, Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday 10am-7pm