the first place i had vietnamese garlic butter noodles was an the go. they were topped with perfectly cooked shrimp, but the real focus was the noodles. steaming hot, buttery, garlicky, cheesy with a hint of asian je ne sais quoi (fish sauce! soy sauce!) perfection. i had more at ppq dungeness island, and then some at star noodle, and then at thanh long. and even though thanh long is part of the same family as an the go, they somehow still weren’t as good. they were kind of cold, and didn’t have nearly enough garlic. my mom and i figured it was time for us to try it on our own.
this is also a really flexible dish. the first time i made them, the noodles got a little gummy because 1) i didn’t have enough water and it was really starchy up in there, and 2) i overcooked them. ooops. mom finished them (i bailed after i screwed up the noodles), and they still had good flavor!
or how about the time i used homemade butter? on the surface, this doesn’t sound that weird, but let’s provide some context. i was making whipped cream with a bit of white chocolate once, and it curdled badly. like cottage cheese (less watery though) bad. and i whipped to the point where i basically had butter. i had a ton of it and nothing to use it for, so a generous helping went into a batch of vietnamese garlic butter noodles. i omitted the sugar to compensate for the white chocolate, and it worked! sounds gross, still tasted delicious.
Vietnamese Garlic Butter Noodles
from Kirbie’s Cravings
1 lb egg noodles
1 stick unsalted butter (I used 1/2 stick)
3 T minced garlic
1 T low sodium soy sauce
1 T granulated sugar
1 T oyster sauce
2 T fish sauce
grated Parmesan and chopped scallions/green onions for serving
- Boil egg noodles in a pot until they are just cooked and still al dente. Drain and place the noodles in a large bowl.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add in remaining ingredients, except cheese and scallions, and stir until combined. Turn off heat.
- Add the sauce to the noodles and toss. If using, add the Parmesan and scallions. Serve immediately.
it’s weird to me to blog like nothing is wrong, that we can all just hold hands in kumbaya and eat boatloads of vietnamese garlic butter noodles. i’m still processing this shift in the world. maybe not a shift in people’s hearts, but what they now feel validated to say and do. i’ve already heard stories: a girl’s hijab was pulled and she almost choked at a school 20 minutes from home. one of my friends, who goes to aforementioned school, was approached by a man and told that she “shouldn’t wear leggings if she doesn’t want to get touched, because it’s legal now.” another friend shared a story about one of her latina friends getting yelled at by a young boy and his mother in a grocery store. and this is in california, in staunchly urban and usually liberal areas. and this is pre-presidency. i vacillate between so much grief that i can’t handle it, and contemplating safe, supportive steps i can take to help my communities heal. i still don’t have any answers, but i’m hoping that there’s enough compassion and human decency to get us through.