By Đỗ Minh
As a foodaholic, I sometimes panic when I stand on the scales. If I find I’m approaching “overweight” territory, I start to balance my diet and eat healthy food. And steamed food is my top choice.
Steam cooking is one of the healthiest alternatives there is. It actually helps preserve the food’s nutrition, flavour, texture, and colour. Steam uses gentle heat, does not burn or scorch food, and prevents food from drying out.
I have found a restaurant in Hà Nội where the dishes are steamed in a creative way. The elegant and modern space and delicious food all left a good impression.
Located on Giảng Võ Street, Steam Box is a paradise of steamed food, from vegetable, meat, and seafood dishes to dim sum. It’s well worth a try.
Each dish is steamed for a particular period of time. The waiter sets a timer for gourmands to see that the dishes are cooked well.
Different types of food can share an oven without transferring their flavours. So, you can save time by steaming vegetables together with asparagus rolled in beef belly – my favourite option.
In the dish, asparagus pieces are neatly wrapped in thinly sliced beef belly. After being steamed for exactly 3 minutes, the beef becomes so juicy and the asparagus crisp and tender. The green colour is maintained, giving the dish an eye-catching look.
I tried the restaurant’s special sauce, which contains peanut butter, and found that it’s not suitable for the beef. I think it’s not necessary to add more sauce, because the rolls are marinated well before being steamed.
Another recommendation is its tofu dishes. Tofu is a nutritious food that is low in calories and gluten-free. There are numerous famous Vietnamese dishes cooked with tofu. At Steam Box, the chef creatively combines tofu with quail eggs.
Vietnamese steamed egg and tofu is an appetising soft dish that is suitable for anyone who loves tofu, like me.
The tofu is cut into even chunks. The chef uses a spoon to make a hole in the middle of the chunks and then puts a quail egg inside. The dish is steamed for 5 minutes to make the egg yolk soft-boiled. I love the buttery taste of the egg and the smoothness of the tofu.
Another choice for tofu is a combination with salted-egg shrimp. The savoury from the shrimp together with the soft and smooth tofu can make anyone fall in love with it from the first bite. All of these dishes have a beautiful appearance.
Quail eggs can also be steamed with shiitake mushrooms or oysters. Each brings an interesting experience.
You can discover a wide range of dishes on the menu to steam, such as chicken with mushroom, squid with ginger, clams steamed in a Thai style, and salmon with green pepper.
Between the steaming process, the waiter sometimes reveals the secret beneath the tray — a boiling porridge combining rice, lotus seeds, and mung beans. While you steam the food, all the juice from the ingredients runs down and makes the porridge delicious and nutritious. If you don’t like porridge, you can replace it with noodles.
I love Thai, Japanese, Korean, and Italian cuisine. A meal of steamed food is sometimes like taking a break, when I can enjoy delicious food without having to worry about heartburn or consuming too much oil. VNS