Categories
Alcohol

Old Bay Beer: The Seafood Companion We Wish We Knew About Before

Photo: Flying Dog

When thinking about Old Bay, two things that quickly come to mind is some fresh seafood and a glass of ice-cold beer.

I just learned that you can now enjoy two of those elements in a single sip. Yup, turns out Old Bay Beer is a very real thing.

Old Bay partnered up with Flying Dog, Maryland’s largest brewery, to release a beer called Dead Rise five years ago. Because of its exclusivity, Flying Dog is the only brewery in existence to use Old Bay seasoning in their product. The name Dead Rise pay homage to the Chesapeake fishing boats that gather shellfish year-round.

Originally a blonde ale, the beer is now brewed as a gose boasting a lemony tartness with little bitterness and 5.7% ABV.

For those interested in checking it out, you can locate a bottle through their beer finder. Man, now I’m craving seafood.

Categories
Culture Features

12 Vietnamese Dishes That Everyone Should Try In Their Lifetime

You may remember Connie Bang-Co Aboubakare, also known as @occomestibles, the influencer who took us on a trip to Southern California’s Little Saigon and all the amazing Vietnamese restaurant foods highlighted during the tour of her Chomping Grounds.

Connie was a recent guest on the Foodbeast Katchup podcast and spoke about her origins as an influencer and how she had to learn to cook Vietnamese food once she got married. What set her apart from many food bloggers is that she photographs the Vietnamese meals she would make for her husband and sons and fills her feed with them.

Vietnamese food has always been a beloved cuisine here at the Foodbeast office and while many of us have tried it, there are always those few dishes that not too many know about, but wish they had sooner. Towards the end of the episode, host Geoffrey Kutnick asks Connie what were some essential dishes she could not live without, to which she replied with quite a few Vietnamese options.

Looking at all the different dishes in her feed really inspired us to dive into Vietnam’s rich cuisine.

Thanks to her Katchup visit, we’ve compiled a comprehensive Foodbeast list of all the amazing Vietnamese dishes everyone should try at least once in their life.


Cá Kho Tộ (Braised Claypot Fish)

 

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One of the first dishes Connie mentions, that she can’t live without, is a braised claypot fish dish called Cá Kho Tộ. Catfish is cooked in a braising liquid of sugar and fish sauce within a clay pot in a process referred to as “kho.” Because the dish is so rich in flavor, it’s typically served with plain white rice and vegetables. It’s one of the more common dishes she would make for her family, and looking back, my mom would make this about once a week as well.

Bánh Xèo (Savory Crepes)

 

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A while back, Connie also hosted a Foodbeast Kitchen live stream that highlighted her love of Bánh Xèo, another item she mentions in the podcast. Essentially, Bánh Xèo are thin Vietnamese crepes that are cooked with flour and turmeric powder and filled with fresh meats such as shrimp, chicken, or pork, as well as fresh vegetables. You can eat them directly with fish sauce, or rip them up and roll them into a spring roll.

Cơm Tấm (Broken Rice)

An inexpensive comfort dish, Cơm Tấm translates to “broken rice.” What originated as a street food item, you would typically find grilled meats on top of broken white rice, a steamed egg cake, julienne pork, and pickled greens.

Bánh Bột Chiên (Fried Flour Cake)

A hearty breakfast dish, Bánh Bột Chiên translates to fried flour cakes. Cooked with fried eggs and green onions, the dish is popular in both Vietnam and China. The flour is cut into thick rectagular strips, and served with a tangy soy sauce that the cakes can be dipped into. There is also a turnip cake and radish cake variation that can be cooked in the same way.

Cánh Gà Chiên Nước Mắm (Fish Sauce Fried Chicken Wings)

One of my personal favorite Vietnamese dishes, Cánh Gà Chiên Nước Mắm is mores an appetizer than a meal — unless you’re me and double up on orders. Not too different from how Cá Kho is made, the chicken wings are fried and coated in a glaze made from sugar and fish sauce. Sometimes, fried garlic is also added to the mix.

What I love most about fish sauce chicken wings are that every restaurant has their own take on them, and you can easily get yourself a few wings for relatively cheap.

Bánh Bột Lọc (Savory Tapioca Dumplings)

 

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Made with tapioca flour, the dumplings are stuffed with shrimp and pork, wrapped in banana leaves, and steamed. Once cooked, Bánh Bột Lọc is served with a sweet and spicy fish sauce and fried shallots. From Central Vietnam, the dish is eaten as an appetizer to a full meal. Foodbeast producer Theresa Tran mentions this as one of her favorite Vietnamese dishes, although it will take about 15 of them to fill her up.

Bún Riêu (Pork and Crab Soup)

 

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One of the more popularized Vietnamese dishes, Bún Riêu is a soup made with pork, crab, shrimp paste, dried shrimp, egg, rice vermicelli and lots of tomatoes. This leads to a super robust and umami flavor compared to the more classic Pho dish. After pho, this is one of the more popular Vietnamese soup dishes around.

Bánh Khọt (Savory Pancake Bites)

 

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Bánh Khọt, mini savory pancakes, feature pretty much the same exact ingredients as the more popular Banh Xeo, but comes in a sort of cupcake form. Because of this cooking method, the texture comes out much more different giving it a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior. Unlike Banh Xeo, the proteins of Bánh Khọt are cooked on top of the dish rather than inside. Not unlike a gourmet cupcake.

Gỏi Cuốn (Spring Rolls)

 

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One of the lighter Vietnamese dishes, spring rolls are served cold with fresh greens, prawns, pork, and rolled together with rice paper. Gỏi Cuốn can typically be enjoyed with a peanut flavored dipping sauce, or a simple fish sauce that’s mixed together with chilis. Easy to eat either as a snack or even for a long road trip in the car. Just make sure not to spill any fish sauce.

Canh Chua (Vietnamese Sour Soup)

 

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Tart and savory, this Vietnamese dish is typically served with rice. Made with a catfish base as well as tomatoes, pineapple, okra, beansprouts, and Vietnamese herbs. This is one of the dishes you wouldn’t typically find at a Vietnamese restaurant, but rather from the kitchen of a Vietnamese household. During the podcast Connie also mentions that this is one of her essential dishes that she likes to make at home.

Ốc Len Xào Dừa (Stir Fried Snails w/ Coconut Milk)

 

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A common street food in Vietnam, Ốc Len Xào Dừa roughly translates to stir fried snails in coconut milk. While the dish itself sounds pretty intimidating, the flavors that go into this dish make it a top contender for Foodbeast producer Theresa Tran. Made with coconut milk, lemongrass, Vietnamese coriander, chilies, and sea snails, you would find the Ốc Len Xào Dừa at street food carts throughout many Vietnamese cities.

“You can give me a cup of that broth and I’d drink it,” Tran says. “Also trying to get the snails out is pretty fun too.”

Phở (Rice Noodle Soup)

 

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One of the most iconic Vietnamese dishes, you can’t go wrong with phở. An elegant broth made from either chicken or beef, phở utilizes the flavors of charred ginger, onions, and other vegetables over a long period of time. Sure it’s on everyone’s list, but phở is so prolific to Vietnamese culture that you kind of just have to add it to the fold. Both Connie and myself enjoy beef pho, with strips of brisket that you can dip into a mixture of sriracha and hoisin sauce.

Categories
Alcohol Culture Drinks FOODBEAST Restaurants SPONSORED

Why Pairing Seafood & Sake Is A Sensory Gamechanger

For most of human history, we had no way of identifying what made certain dishes so delicious. We could describe sour, sweet, bitter, and salty sensations, but not savory. That is, until 1908, when Kikunae Ikeda discovered the fifth taste — umami. Umami is the essence of savory, giving life to some of the world’s most delectable ingredients like meat, soy sauce, and fish paste.

That same year, Ikeda identified the molecular happenings that take our taste buds on this journey. In short, he found that an amino acid called glutamate is largely responsible. Scientists have since expanded on Ikeda’s findings, saying there are nucleotides found in many foods that, when combined with amino acids, intensify the umami experience. It’s this interaction that gives alcohol and meat pairings so much depth, as the amino acids in alcohol pair exceptionally well with the nucleotides found in all meat.

This is especially true in the case of sake, which holds significantly more amino acids than most beers or wine, making it one of the purest tastes of umami that we have on Earth. Because of this, it outshines other alcohols in being paired with umami rich dishes, such as seafood, where most would think to drink something like a glass of white wine.

Sometimes, though, it’s best to drop the fancy talk and put things in layman’s terms. In Foodbeast’s new video regarding the drink, sake expert Chris Johnson says it best. Sake and seafood work, on a basic level, because “the seafood elevates the sake, the sake elevates the seafood, and you have a party.”

The video acts as a crash course in sake, as Foodbeast correspondent George Laboda travels to Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Los Angeles, CA to try nine different seafood and sake pairings. But first, he gets hit with the basics.

There are three overarching types of sake: Junmai, Ginjo, and Daiginjo, each carrying a different percentage of milling, a process that consists of polishing down the rice used to brew sake. The more it’s milled, the more the grain turns into a pure starch, producing a layered, textured brew. This does not, however, mean that as the milling percentage goes up, so does the quality. On the contrary, milling says quite little about quality, and more about the flavor of the sake and what food it might work well with.

The video works to show this by presenting nine different pairings by highlighting a variety of sake along the way — from a hazy, unfiltered desert sake to an unusually amber tinted sake — and their wide-ranging effects on our palate. Check out all the pairings below:

Course #1: Raw Oysters & Konishi Aosae no Sumikiri Junmai


Old Salt oysters topped with a kimchi vignette met a sharp Junmai that relaxed the brininess of the raw oysters.

Course #2: Grilled Oysters & Nanbu Bijin Shinpaku Junmai Daiginjo

The next course showed the textural application of sake by pairing a grilled oyster with a light, fruity Daiginjo whose velvety mouthfeel accentuated the kimchi butter that the oyster was slathered in.

Course #3: Crispy Oysters & Suzaku

A smooth Ginjo was used to cut the fattiness of raw oysters and make their sweetness pop.

Course #4: Hamachi & Nanbu Bijin Daiginjo

This Daiginjo pairs especially well with raw fish, as the dryness worked in cohesion with the lusciousness of the raw Hamachi.

Course #5: Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs & Shirayuki Junmai Daiginjo Daihouju

Playing off of spicy and sweet, these smoky deviled eggs were paired with a heavily aromatic Daiginjo with fruity undertones.

Course #6: Peruvian Bay Scallops & Horin

The sixth course featured another Daiginjo, but this time a microbrew that skipped the fruitiness and focused on a texture and mouthfeel that complimented the creamy scallops.

Course #7: Shrimp & Grits with Gochujang Sauce & Nigori

Nigori, a special type of unfiltered sake that produces a textured, thick mouthfeel, was paired with a spin off of a Southern classic to play with the gritty texture and spice of the dish.

Course #8: Grilled Octopus & Shirayuki Sake of Edo-Genroku Era “Year1702”

Made using half the amount of water as a normal brew, the Year1702 is amber-colored and naturally sweet, which provides for a phenomenal pairing with sweeter seafood dishes, like the Spanish-style octopus from the video.

Course #9: Lobster Roll & Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai

The final course coupled a lobster roll with a simple, clean-tasting Junmai to break up the intensity of the sauce that the lobster was tossed in.


Created in partnership with JFOODO. 

Categories
Fast Food

Long John Silver’s Just Became ALL YOU CAN EAT This Thanksgiving Week

Fans of Long John Silver’s fast-food style seafood spread will have something to give thanks for this week. The chain announced that during Thanksgiving week, they’ll be offering an All-You-Can-Eat special at participating locations in celebration of the food-filled holiday.

Starting now through Nov. 30, customers can dive into all the fish, chicken, and sides they can eat for about $7.99.

This includes hand-battered wild-caught Alaska Pollock, fried white-meat chicken tenders, fries, coleslaw, and LJS’s famous hush puppies.

Not going to lie, I’d go just for endless hush puppies alone.

Long John Silver’s AYCE special will be from 11am through 7pm until the end of the month. Not all locations will honor this deal, however, so best check this store locator to find out exactly which ones you can hit to get your fried seafood fix.

Categories
Adventures Restaurants Video

Sample Greek Food Beyond The Gyro At Papa Cristo’s Legendary Greek Emporium

As a Greek American, one of my biggest qualms with the typical Greek restaurants in the United States is that they get lumped into a very small group of standardized dishes. People here judge a Greek restaurant for how well they grill meat, can make a gyro, or how sweet their baklava is.

There’s so much more to Greek food, however, but it is hard to find many of the lesser-known dishes. If your local Greek church has a food festival, it’s possible to find them there. For me, the best place to track them down is establishments that have been the heart of major Greek communities for generations.

On the West Coast of the United States, there’s really only one place that can serve as that: Papa Cristo’s, the Los Angeles market-restaurant that’s stood across from the city’s large Greek cathedral for over 70 years. It started as C&K Imports and was a marketplace to get all of your Greek needs at, from honey made at monasteries and tangy imported Feta to Greek spirits like ouzo and metaxa.

Later on, owner Chrys Chrys added on a restaurant space that served burgers and fries, but swapped it out for traditional Greek favorites in the early 90s. Since then, it’s also become one of the quintessential Greek eateries west of the Mississippi. Papa Cristo’s has gained this level of fame through their old school preparation methods, including slow-roasting their lamb and taking multiple days to make their roasted potatoes.

Chrys keeps standards like gyros and baklava in both the restaurant and marketplace, but it’s the rest of the menu that you should come to partake in. Papa Cristo’s grills up seafood just like back on the Greek islands, including baby octopus, tsipoura (Greek sea bream), shrimp, and calamari. What makes it more special is the berbere-spiced tahini it’s served with, which is sold in the marketplace and adds an aromatic, tangy touch to the seafood.

Other specials on the menu include loukomades, the anicent Greek precursor to donuts. You can get them drizzled with honey and walnuts or served with ice cream to make it a “sundae.” Chrys has also added more unique offerings, like “pitzas” (pita-based pizzas) topped with Greek loukaniko sausage or spanakopita (spinach pie) filling. On weekends, there’s hard-to-find eats like yemistes (stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers) and pastitsio (the Greek pasta bake that inspired lasagna) on offer as well. One cannot also pass on Papa Cristo’s without tasting their legendary lamb sandwich, a simple yet mouthwatering meal that has made the likes of Guy Fieri drool.

Papa Cristo’s has been the epicentre of the LA Greek community for generations. The old-school Greek food and the marketplace full of Greek essentials make it a treasure for Greeks like me looking for both a taste and feel of back home.

To discover more about the legend of Papa Cristo’s, you can view the full Foodbeast feature on the restaurant and marketplace in the above YouTube video.

Categories
Restaurants Twitch

Viral San Pedro Fish Market Will Send You FREE Shrimp Platters, Here’s How To Get One

San Pedro Shrimp Tray Twitch Giveaway!

Who: San Pedro Fish Market

What: San Pedro Fish Grill is giving away three of their World Famous Shrimp Trays. These boast about 2 pounds of jumbo shrimp, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, and two loaves of garlic bread.

The giveaway will coincide with a livestream exclusively on Foodbeast’s Twitch, where professional eater Molly Schuyler will attempt to eat more than 500 pieces of shrimp!

All you have to do is follow Foodbeast on Twitch in the embed above, or the link provided below and enter a name and email. Three winners will be selected at random live during the stream.

Proceeds from BITS donated through Twitch during the live stream will go to No Kid Hungry.

Where: You can enter here to win a Shrimp Tray, and view the event live on Twitch.tv/Foodbeast this Friday.

When: Friday, May 10

 

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Categories
Restaurants

Mariscos and Sushi Come Together In Seafood Harmony

When the seafood minds of multiple cultures combine, it’s a sensational gift to the palates that grace them.

Out of Orange, California, Emporio Sushi & Mariscos serve a plethora of unique seafood based off not just Mexican cuisine, but Japanese, as well.

The base of each dish is inspired by Sinaloan techniques, but incorporates Japanese flavors that we have become accustomed to from sushi restaurants.

Sure you can stick to the usual avocado roll or salmon roll, but why would you when you can explore the depths of a highly stacked “Torre,” which is piled high with a mix of both cooked and raw shrimp, octopus, Mexican scallops, avocado, cabbage, and a house made salsa negra.

The other featured superstar is a hollowed out coconut that’s stuffed with marinated shrimp, octopus, a coconut salad, and their salsa negra blend. The coconut itself is also dipped in chamoy and Tajin, giving it a bit of a Michelada feel.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try out a bold concept, this place looks like a perfect date night for your seafood-loving S.O.

Categories
Fast Food Opinion

The Top 10 Fast Food Seafood Items Across The USA, Ranked

Fast food seafood has gotten a bad rap over the years, and it’s easy to understand why. Nobody ever put respect on fish’s name, leaving their sole pescatarian option to be overcooked, mushy, and not too pleasant.

Times have changed, though, and with that, the quality of the industry’s fishy fare has shot up. Whether it be whole fish filets or irresistible pieces of shrimp, there’s a lot more being offered than before. The fish sandwich may still dominate, but it’s gone from being overlooked to getting a ton of attention.

These are the best of what fast food seafood has to offer, from timeless fish sandwiches to seafood staples that could dominate for years to come.

When making this list, only items from major fast food chains were looked at and ranked on quality, popularity, and flavor. There will be some big names not on this list (sorry, Ronald), but that’s just indicative of how some newer chains have risen to the challenge and created seafood items that are just… well, better.

10) Tuna Pie, Jollibee

 

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The fried chicken icon of the Philippines is no one-trick pony, as its entire menu is straight fire. When it comes to seafood, it’s a little harder to find at the Bee, but this Lenten LTO is the best they have to offer. While the fact that it’s basically canned tuna in a cream sauce makes it less appealing, you have to appreciate its zesty, peppery flavor, and flaky pastry crust.

9) North Atlantic Cod Sandwich, Culver’s

 

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To make it on this list as a standard fish sandwich, you need to get some basics right: a crispy exterior, intriguing fillings, and a well-cooked piece of fish. Culver’s hits on all of those marks, with the mixture of shredded cheese and lettuce and a light amount of tartar sauce (McDonald’s, take note) accentuating the flavors of the cod. It does need a bit more seasoning, however.

8) Fish Slider, White Castle

 

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The phrase “simple is better” definitely applies to White Castle’s Contribution to the fast food fish game. They don’t church theirs up with tartar sauce or lettuce, using just a slice of American cheese to top their Alaskan pollock. While the fish choice itself is “meh,” given how ubiquitous and overcooked pollock tends to be, their flavor is extraordinary given the slider’s size.

7) Cajun Fish Sandwich, Arby’s

 

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Arby’s would be a lot higher on this list, to be honest, if they had decided to bring back the Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich from the LTO grave. That version had a ton of kick and was a tasty contribution to the fast food game. Sure, the Cajun remoulade on this version has some zest and punch, and gives the massive filet of pollock an extra hit of flavor. It’s no Nashville Hot, though.

6) Shrimp Po’ Boy, Popeyes

Popeyes knows how to do fried shrimp proper. They’re coated with the same seasoning as Popeyes’ top-notch fried chicken, elevating the crustaceans to a new level of flavor. Add in the fact that you get a pretty generous amount per baguette-sized sandwich, and you have a satiating meal of seafood that does more than most fish sandwiches in the game even attempt to do.

5) North Pacific Cod Sandwich, Wendy’s

Who does the generic fish sandwich the best? That answer, as said by several others in the past, has to be Wendy’s. It’s something about the punchiness of their tartar sauce, how the cod is cooked decently, and how the fish has the right crunch. It’s more of a quality thing than a “we put other stuff on it” that makes their variant as good as it is. Of course, it is just your standard fish sandwich, and while it’s a damn good version of it, there’s other things out there that showcase seafood better.

4) Jumbo Shrimp Tacos, Del Taco

 

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Del Taco’s take on the Baja-style seafood taco is surprisingly solid. The shrimp are coated with just the right amount of seasoning, and the crisp lettuce and tomato offset it perfectly in terms of contrasting textures. The white sauce and fresh lime on top elevate this option into the top 5, because they provide the acidic punch and creamy consistency of tartar sauce with just a fraction of its heaviness. This is my personal go-to option for a seafood snack during the Lent season.

3) 2 Cod, 6 Shrimp Platter, Long John Silver’s

 

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Those looking to treat themselves to a seafood feast need to track this down. Being one of two fast food seafood specialists in the country, Long John Silver’s knows how to give cod the appropriate TLC, keeping it crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. The seasoning is a little too close to KFC’s, but few can compete with their batter, or the size of this platter.

2) Giant Fish Sandwich, Captain D’s

 

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In the duel of the fast food seafood specialists, Captain D’s is the people’s choice. Folks regard it as better because of its taste, and this Giant Fish Sandwich shows it off best. The fish pieces themselves are massive in terms of both length and flavor, and an appropriate amount of tartar sauce helps make this one of the most decadent sandwiches you can get in fast food. It’s better than its fishy rival and arguably the best fast food seafood item out there… save for one that honestly, nobody even comes close to touching.

1) Honey Walnut Shrimp, Panda Express

 

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Cue the Thanos snap. Seriously, watching the rest of the fast food seafood game compare to Panda’s signature shrimp is like watching the Avengers trying to KO Marvel’s Mad Titan at the end of Infinity War. How can one compete with its sweet, savory flavor, balanced with the crunch and slight bitterness of walnuts? Nobody has been able to create something within reach yet, so until the fast food seafood universe gets its own Captain Marvel, Honey Walnut Shrimp will tower over anything else that tries to one-up it.