Stir-Fry / Vietnamese Pork with Green Beans and Carrots




So anyone who knows little old Saba, knows that  I’m a sucker for a barging. Especially when its food related!  So the other day I went to the supermarket to get me some bread and a few other little bits and pieces. I don’t head out to often these days being that we are in lockdown and what not. My plan was to go in, get what I need and get the duck out of there. Well as all good plans go, I’m guessing you all can tell how this story ends. Turns out I ended up with trolley full of who knows what.

What can you do hey?? 🤷‍♂️

Anywayz as I don’t usually buy prepackaged salads or convenient cut vegetables for a number of reason. Mostly cause they are a rip off. However as I was walking down the aisle to head over to the fresh vegetable section I couldn’t help but noticed a few discounted packages. I have a keen eye for this sort of things. Okay truth be told I’m just a tight ass. So I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a look. So I did just that. On inspection the vegetables were still fresh and at that price I couldn’t help myself.

Dam it, I got sucked in to the supermarket trap!

The beans and carrots were only forty  cents, yep forty cents. I already had some pork belly in my fridge at home so I had the perfect dish in mind for this little bag of goodies.

I would normally make this dish with a lean cut of pork. However I had the pork belly in the fridge so I used that. My recipe below is for a lean cut, but you do you and decide which one you prefer.

As the pork belly still had the skin on, I removed it along with some of the fat, proceeded to cut it into a small dice and fried it first into crispy little crackling croutons.

This is not part of my usual recipe but might be a feature from now on as it added a great texture and an awesome flavor pops.

Although not the healthiest option I must say.

The shopping list

200 grams thinly sliced Pork
100 grams Green Beans
100 grams Carrots
1 Small Brown Onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbls sugar
1 tbls Fish Sauce
1 tbls Cooking oil

Cracked Black Pepper , Spring Onion 
Coriander and Chilli to garnish 

Serve on steamed rice


Lest get a cooking hey?



Step 1.

If using pork belly remove the skin and top layer of fat. Then cut into 1cm pieces

If using skinless lean cut, omit this step.

 Now slice the meat into thin strips.

Step 2.

Thinly slice the onion

Crush or finely dice the garlic

Step 3.

Julienne the carrot

Top and tail the the green beans then cut into thirds.

Step 4.

Cut about two leaves of spring onion into rings

Step 5. 

If using the pork skin, add it to the cold work and turn the heat onto medium. Allow the fat to render out for a few minutes. Once enough fat has rendered out it will start to deep fry the skin.

Step 6.

Once the skin is crispy turn up the heat to high.

If  you are starting with the lean pork, heat the wok on high and add the oil.

Add the pork and stir fry until it is well sealed and no longer pink. About 2.5 minutes

Step 7

Add the sugar and fish sauce

Step 9

Add the onion and garlic and stir fry for about 1 minute.

Step 10

Add the carrots and stir fry for 1 minute.

Step 11

Add the green beans and stir fry for another minute

Step 12

Now add the spring onion and crack in plenty of black pepper.

Continue to stir fry of another minute or two.

Step 12

Turn off the heat and garish with some coriander and chille if you like.

serve over some pipping hot steamed rice. 



That’s it friends, you just made Saba’s Pork with green beans and carrot stir fry.

How easy was that!


Please tag me on your socials if you make this recipe

Share this recipe with your friends and family

I would love to see it!

Check out some of my other great recipes here

Stir-Fry Thai Pork & Basil

4 Ingredients Pork Belly Yakitori



Friends of Saba

8 Frame Honey

The Birth of Saba’s Happy Duck!


No Crying Tiger Here

Only a Happy Duck!


Let me tell you a story about a crying tiger who turned into a happy duck.

A few years back I went out to dinner and got a bit drunk.

Ok a lot drunk. That’s not the point!

Anywayz, during dinner I had one of my favorite dishes, Crying Tiger.

It was totally awesome.

This version used wagyu beef and had a salsa on it.

Not your average crying tiger that’s for sure.

The next morning,  when I was no longer drunk.

I got to thinking, why the hell do they call it crying tiger?

For the life of me I couldn’t work it out.

Then it struck me like a lighting bolt. Its cause the tiger had no spice in it life.

So I thought Duck it!!!

I’m going to make my own version with chili.

Lots of chili, and if crying is a must, it going to be tears of joy!

I didn’t have any wagyu lying around, who the duck does right ?

So I opted for duck breast instead.

I then raided the fridge for what herbs I had on hand, then proceeded to scrounger around in the pantry to see what other ingredients I could find  and the end result was this dish.

So that’s how a Crying Tiger became a Happy Duck 😊😊😊

Happy Duck


Now as this was way back in 2016 and I hadn’t started the blog yet. I wasn’t making  videos or writing recipes. As such I only took photos and made a slide show to post on my Instagram.

This is the link to the original post I did way back then.

Feel free to give me a like and follow whilst your there 🙂

Saba’s Instagram feed

So since then I have wrote a recipe which I’m still refining from this original, and I will be posting in an up coming post. So keep an eye out for that.

But this was how I made it that faithful morning.





That’s it peoples, the birth of Saba’s

Happy Duck!

Stay tuned for the recipe post coming up shorty.

Please tag me on your socials if you make any of my recipe, and

Share this post with your friends and family

I would love to see it!

Check out some of my great recipes here

Beef in Betel Leaf

Vietnamese Spring Rolls


Friends of Saba

Dalat Sports & Grill

Stir-Fry / Thai Pork and Basil





I don’t know about you, but for me I love Thai food. Another thing I love is cooking. But like most people I work a nine to five job. There are just some days when you get home and you just don’t feel like cooking up a storm. On those days a dish like this is perfect. You can whip it up it about 15 minutes and bang, a delicious full flavoured meal done!

Traditionally Holy basil is used for this dish. However I didn’t have any on hand so I’m using Thai basil. Any basil would be nice in this dish so just use what you have or can get.


Let’s get stir-frying hey?




The shopping list

250 grams Minced pork
3 cloves Garlic crushed
3 Bird’s eye chilli finely chopped
2 tbls oyster sauce
1 tbls  fish sauce
1 tbls sugar
1 Bunch Thai basil picked
1 tbls Cooking oil


To Serve

Fried Egg
Steamed Rice 

Step 1.

In a fry pan or wok add the oil and let come up to temperature.

Step 2.

Add your garlic and chilli and stir fry to fragrant.

(Careful not to burn the garlic as it will go bitter) 

Step 3.

Add your pork and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 4.

Add Fish and Oyster sauces along with sugar to the pan, stir fry for another 2 minutes

Step 5. 

Add in the basil and give it a good toss to combine, now turn off the heat.

Step 6.

Transfer to your serving dish with some steamed rice and top with a fried egg.

That’s it peoples you just made Saba’s Pork & Basil

How easy was that!

Please tag me on your socials if you make this recipe

Share this recipe with your friends and family

I would love to see it!

Check out some of my other great recipes here

Duck Neck Sausage

Crispy Pork Spring Rolls




Friends of Saba




Pho on the go!

Just add water #1


Throw away those instant noodle packets that don’t actually taste anything like what the packet suggest. Lets make our own.

This will be the first instalment of my new series “Just add water”. This series will be dedicated to instant noodles. But not the type your thinking. We gonna prep everything before hand so you can take it will you. Then all you will need is some boiling water and two minutes before you will be enjoying awesome noodles that taste great.







Let me tell how this recipe came to be and a very odd ingredient that you will need to make it.

Now mark my words it’s as perfect as a instant noodle is going to get!

So most recently I quit smoking, best thing I’ve done for myself in years. I also recommended it to any other current smoker. My sense of smell and taste has heighten which has resulted in me adding less salt and sugar to my food. Win Win!    Now giving up the dirty smokes hasn’t come with out any drawbacks. Be it temporary or not. Now one of these drawbacks is my apertite! I mean when I say I’m hungry all the time. I’m not kidding! I’ve been smash food like its going out of existence. I’m even eating stuff I don’t usually like to eat.

So I bought a few packets of instant noodles. I don’t often eat instant noodles cause most of them don’t taste very good but they are convenient.  So got some to have on hand at work.  I’m a big lover of Pho, but not of  instant pho noodles.

I’ve never found any instant pho the remotely taste like the real thing.

So along with eating a tone more food, I also had to make a few other dietary changes. One being cutting back my coffee intake. Mainly because having coffee was a trigger that would make me crave for a smoke.  So I started to drink more tea instead.  I started to try all different teas. Black, greens, fruit flavoured, with milk, with out milk. As such my work colleagues had started to noticed. One of them offered me a packet of Chai tea. I never had Chai before so I gave it a go. When I first made the Chai tea the smell was very inviting and very very familiar to say the least.  However I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was.   My boss had walked in and said that smells good, and he had a cup as well.

As the boss man was drinking it, he said to me “reminds me of pho”.


That was it, that was the familiar taste. So I ran to get the box to see what ingrediencies where in this Chai tea I was drinking. What do you know….. It had spices like Cinnamon, ginger and clove. All spices I add to my Pho stock when I make it.  That’s when I had a light bulb moment and this recipe was born.




The shopping list 


60 gram,  Dried Pho noodles. 

(use the thinnest noodles you can find)

1 Chai tea bag.

(ensure it is the spiced type chai tea)

1 Beef stock cube

(I used an organic msg free cube)

2 Vietnamese beef balls quartered

(you could use any cooked meat you like here or even something like beef jerky)

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Black pepper to taste

Garnishes and sauces all to taste 

Spring onion

(you can also add coriander, saw tooth coriander, fresh onion slices ect) 


Thai basil leaves picked

Fresh sliced chilli

Lemon wedge

Hoisin Sauce

Chilli Sauce




Use a container that has a lid that will be easy to carry around.

Crush and add the beef cube to your container.

Add the salt, pepper, dried noodles and tea bag.

Now place all your basil, spring onion chille and beanshoots into a zip lock bag.


Put the hoisin and chilli sauce into a small sealable container and add to your noodle bowl, along  with the beef balls and lemon wedge.


Place your garnish bag in the bowl and place the lid on.

Place in the fridge

Now your pho kit is ready to go!


Take your pho to work with you, or any where else you might want to enjoy it. Just remember with the beef balls you will need to keep it refrigerated if its going to sit around for extended periods of time and you will also need access to boiling water.


When your ready to eat. 

Remove the pho kit from the fridge.

Take off the lid and remove the garnish packet, sauce container and lemon wedge.

Add enough boiling water to cover all the noodles, put the lid back on and let stand for 2 minutes.

(or to when the noodles have soften)

Take off the lid, then remove the teabag.

Give everything a good mix up.

Add in the content of your garish bag and squeeze over some lemon.

Add the hoisin and chilli sauce.

Now enjoy your pho on the go!


Thats it people you jut made  Saba

Pho on the go!

How easy was that!

Please tag me on your socials if you make this recipe, and

Share this recipe with your friends and family

I would love to see it!

Check out some of my great recipes here

Spring Rolls

Cheesy Chicken Wings


Friends of Saba’s

Dalat Sports & Grill







Beef in Betel Leaf – Bò Lá Lốt



Grilled Beef in Betel Leaf

Bò Nướng Lá Lốt

Everyone in Australia loves having a barbeque. Its our national favorite past time. We call it a barbie here in Australia cause we like to shorten all our words. We are just a laid back sort of people down under. So as every good Aussie does I like throw the odd barbie every now and then. But obviously my barbies always have an Asian twist to them. No barbie at Saba’s place is ever complete with out a few of these little bad boys being involved.

So what are these little bad boys I speak of?

They are a beef mixture that are wrapped in a betel leaf and grilled. There are a few regional versions of this and some used sliced beef. My version we use ground beef and also ground pork. I find its juicer with the pork in there and much more flavorful. But if you can’t eat pork, omit it and use full beef.


Lets get this show rolling hey?



The shopping list 

30 large betel leaf

10 soaked bamboo skewers

400 grams minced beef
100 grams minced pork
4 cloves of garlic finely diced
1 tsp ground toasted rice
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sugar
1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
1/2 Bunch Spring onion bottom white part only finely chopped

(reserve green part for spring onion oil)

1/2 tbs ground chilli sauce
4 coriander root, finely chopped

*If you don’t have ground toasted rice its very easy to make. 

Here is a recipe link courtesy of my favorite Thai Blogger

Charinya’s Kitchen


Spring onion oil

Reserved spring onion green part. Finely sliced.
1 cup neutral oil
Pinch of salt

Crushed peanuts and sliced chilli to serve





Step 1 

Make the filling

Add all the filling Ingredients to a large bowl and mix well to combine.

Set in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour



Step 2 

Make the spring onion oil

Add the spring onion and oil to a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the spring onion is soft and fragment but not coloured. Add a generous pinch of salt.

Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool


Step 3 

Make the rolls

Start by placing one betel leaf shiny side down with the top of the leaf facing towards you. Place a heaped teaspoon of the meat on the leaf and roll away from yourself

(you can tuck the sides in if you like)

Once you get to the end of the roll prick a little hole in the leaf and insert the stem of the leaf to help hold the roll together

Once the rolls are completed skewer 3 to 4 rolls on a soaked bamboo skewer



Step 4

Cook the rolls

For best results cook them on a charcoal BBQ.

Cook the rolls for 3 minutes on each side brushing them with the spring onion oil.

Tranfer to serving plate

Garnish with extra spring onion oil, crushed peanuts and sliced chilli if you like


These are best served with vermicelli noodles, fresh Vietnamese herbs, some pickled carrot/daikon and nước chấm dipping sauce

You can find the links to my nước chấm and pickled carrot/daikon recipes down below

That’s it peoples you just made Saba’s Bò Nướng Lá Lốt

How easy was that!

Please tag me on your socials if you make this recipe, and

Share this recipe with your friends and family

I would love to see it!

Check out some of my great condiments recipes here

nước chấm

Pickled Carrot and Daikon



Friends of Saba

Vietnamese Crispy Pork Spring Rolls Chả giò

Saba’s Crispy Springers!



In Australia we call these little bad boys Spring rolls.  I know in other parts of the world you may call them Egg rolls.  In Vietnam they are called  Chả giò.

But I call them Springers.

Either way, call them what you must.

One thing I’m certain we can all agree on.

Is that they are delicious!

Once you eat one, you just want another.

You would be hard press to find a Vietnamese family that didn’t have a Chả giò recipe.

Be it with pork, prawn, vegetarian or what not.

We all have one, and my family is none the different.

This recipe is from my mother’s side of the family and we will be using pork today.




1 Packet of spring roll wrappers

1 Egg

The Filling

500 grams Minced Pork

½ large onion chopped

(150 grams )

4 Cloves of garlic finely diced

 55 grams Thread bean noodles

(40 grams dry weight)

80 grams Wood ear mushroom finely chopped

(15  grams dry weight)

3 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper






Make the Springer filling

Step 1

Place the wood ear mushrooms in a small bowl

Cover with hot water and let stand to rehydrated

(about 10 minutes)

Once rehydrated drain and let cool.

Place the bean thread noodles in a small bowl

Cover with warm water and let stand to rehydrated

(about 10 minutes)

Once rehydrated drain and let cool

Step 2

Preparing the onion 

In this step we want to remove the liquid from the onion, this will help the spring rolls from bursting when they are being fried

Peel and roughly chop the onion

Place into a food processor and give a quick blitz

Empty the onions onto a clean muslin or cheese cloth

(If you don’t have muslin or cheese cloth you can use a clean tea towel)

Roll the cloth into a ball and squeeze all the liquid out

Discard the liquid

Step 3

Chop Chop 

Now that the mushrooms have cooled, cut them finely

 Then cut the noodles into 2.5 cm lengths

Peel and finely dice the garlic

Step 4


Place all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine

Cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour to marinate


Rolling the Springers

Crack the egg in a small bowl and roughly whisk

(this will be the glue to hold the rolls closed)

Now to wrap the spring rolls start by having one corner pointing at you

Place about a 1.5 Teaspoons of filling just above the corner and shape into a log

(Whatever shape and size you do will determine the final shape of your spring roll)

Fold the first corner over the filling and tightly tuck it back into the filling.

Give it one roll over

Fold the 2 outer corners in and roll again

Keep rolling and stop just before you get to the end corner

Dab your finger in the egg, then smear it on the end corner of the wrapper

finish off the rolling process


Cooking the Springers

Now deep fry at 180’C

Fry to golden brown and cooked through

About 7 minutes

For best results fry it in small batches as not to over crowed the pan




That’s it peoples you just made Saba’s Vietnamese Pork Springers!

How easy was that!

Check out some of my great condiments recipes here

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Ground Chilli Sauce



Vietnamese Spring Rolls Served with Fresh Herbs and Fish Dipping Sauce.

To serve you can wrap them it lettuce leaves with some mint and dunk them in some

 nước chấm

Cut them up and serve them with some vermicelli noodles or just eat them as they are.


Please tag me on your socials if you make this recipe, and
Share this recipe with your friends and family
I would love to see it!



Friends of Saba

8 Frame Honey

Spring Onion Oil Mỡ Hành




Mỡ Hành



Where I live we call these spring onions. In other parts of the country and world you might call them scallions, green onion, shallots or something else. In Vietnam they are know as Hành lá.  They are a staple of Asian cooking. They have a great oniony taste with out the over powering heat.

Today we are going to make a super quick spring onion oil which is a staple at my place and in Vietnamese cuisine. We use it to garnish and brush over grilled meats and vegetables like pork chops and sweet corn. It is super easy to make but lift the flavour of your dishes so much. I need some of this oil for a recipe I’ll be sharing with you next week that I’m sure you will all love.


So lets get this recipe going like a well oiled machine hey?




1/2 Bunch spring onion green part only

(Finely sliced)

1 Cup neutral oil

Generous pinch of salt





Step 1

Add the spring onion and oil to a saucepan.

Step 2

Cook over medium heat until the spring onion is soft and fragment but not coloured.

Step 3

Add a generous pinch of salt.

Step 4

Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool

That’s it peoples you just made Spring Onion Oil

How easy was that!

Please tag me on your socials if you make this recipe, and

Share this recipe with your friends and family

I would love to see it!

Check out some of my great condiments recipes here

Sate Oil

Annatto Seed Oil

Friends of Saba

8 Frame Honey


Cheats Recipe Vietnamese Meatballs Xíu Mại Chén


Vietnamese Meatballs

Xíu Mại


When ever I think of comfort food, one dish always springs to mind. Vietnamese Meatballs or xíu mại as its know in Vietnam. Every Vietnamese family has there own version of it. In essence its a pork meat ball with a tomato sauce. Growing up my mum would make her xíu mại in single serve bowls. This is know as xíu mại chén. Chén means small bowl, like the ones you eat rice from.  For the longest time I actually though this was the only version there was of this dish. But boy oh boy was I wrong.

Through my travels around Vietnam I got to try many variations of the dish. Some were little meat balls, some where big meat balls. Some where served with eggs and some with out. Some where served in a baguette as a sandwich.

All a bit different but have one thing in common. They all contain pork and tomato.

Over the years I’ve tried and tested so many different recipes. Some are complicated with so many ingrediencies and steps.

Most make the meatballs and sauce separately. Bit too time consuming if you ask me.

So today I’m going to show you my adaption of mothers recipe and with out bias

(ok maybe a little, actually a lot)

I believe it to be the best and most simplest recipe for this dish.

The most delicious as well.

You wont believe how simple this dish is to make and how few ingredients.

I’ve named this dish

Saba’s CHEATS xíu mại

Now before we get started let me tell you why I call this a cheats xíu mại. Well it all started way back about 40 years ago. That’s when my family came to Australia as refugees. When we first arrived we settled in a small country town in rural Victoria. That town has a very special place in my heart.  At the time my family was very poor and Asian ingrediencies where so hard to come by.  Mum had to adapt and use a lot of alternatives in her recipes.  We couldn’t really afford to buy meat back then so mum would bulk up the meat with fillers.

 With the world the way it is at the moment. People being in lockdown and not being able to get all the ingrediencies they need.  I figured was the perfect time to adopt my mothers concepts of adaptation and created this recipe.

Now here comes the cheats part.

Every good cheat recipe need a good cheat ingredient. In my xíu mại it is the humble can of baked beans. Yep you read it right. Baked beans!  Why baked bean I hear you ask?

Well first off I love eating them

They are cheap, high in fibre, taste delicious and already come in a rich tomato sauce.

Ticks all the boxes!


The shopping list

220 gram can baked beans in tomato sauce
500 grams minced pork (20% fat)
4 cloves of garlic finely diced
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs fish sauce
100 grams Jícama finely diced

Yep that’s it !


Lets get these meat balls a rolling hey?



Step 1

Using a sieve over a bowl. Drain your can of baked beans.

We want to separate the sauce from the beans

Step 2 

Peel and finely dice your garlic.

(If you don’t have fresh garlic you can use powder)

Step 3

Peel, wash and finely dice your Jícama.

(If you can’t get Jícama replace it with daikon, water chestnut, radish or even onion)

Step 4

To a large mixing bow add the baked beans, Jícama, garlic, fish sauce and ground pepper

(DO NOT add sauce from the beans you will need that later)

Step 5

Gently mix everything together, being careful not to squash the beans

Step 6

Take about a handful of mix and shape into a ball and add to small steam proof bowls or ramekins

(the mix should make 3 to 4 good size servings) 

Step 7

Place in a steamer, cover with a lid and steam for 15 minutes.

Step 8

Remove the lid and place a generous spoonful of the backed bean sauce over each bowl

Replace the steamer lid and steam for another 10 minutes


Step 9

Remove the lid and place another generous spoonful of the baked bean sauce over each bowl

Replace the steamer lid then turn off the heat and let step for 5 minutes


Step 10

Remove your xíu mại from the steamer and place on serving board

Now to add some finishing touches

Sprinkle on some soy sauce to taste, a dollop of chilli sauce if your that way inclined

Top with a coriander leaf, just to make it all look beautiful.

Now serve with some crunchy bread and enjoy!


Here is a quick video to help guide you through


That’s it peoples, Saba’s cheats xíu mại


Please tag me on your socials if you make this dish.

Share this recipe with your friends and family

I would love to see it!

Click the below links to try our some of my other great recipes

Trio of sardines

Pork Belly Yakitory



Friends of Saba

Down Under Sports & Grill Dalat

Vietnamese Street Pizza Bánh Tráng Nướng

Vietnamese Street Pizza

Bánh Tráng Nướng


I’m a big fan of street food, especially Asian street food. So much so that around three or four times a year I fly over 6000km just to get my fix.  There is something about the sounds and smells that I just love. Sitting on the side of the road on little plastic chairs and watching the world go by as I munch on some awesome and unique food. Can’t beat it!

A few years ago I was watching a video at home. It was a foodie show of course. On the show, they where talking about Vietnamese street pizza or  Bánh Tráng Nướng as its know in Vietnam.  It was a fairly new concoction at that time and was very popular amongst the youth in Vietnam.  Once I had seen this Vietnamese street pizza I knew I had to try it. So I added it to my bucket list of must try’s and later that year I jumped on a plane and headed for destination Saigon!

So what is a Vietnamese street pizza? Well it’s not actually a pizza as the name would suggest. It does resemble one and it easy to see how it does get its nick name.  Its basically a sheet of rice paper topped with all sorts of ingrediencies from eggs to sausage or shrimp and everything in between. To your average person the taste combos can seem a bit whacky but believe me they work out just fine.

So just last month I had a trip planned to Vietnam, I had it all booked for months and was ready to fly.  I couldn’t wait! I was sooooooo looking forward to have me some Vietnamese street pizza. So much so I even had a dream about it. I know pretty sad hey lol

As the date was nearing, the world was changing day by day due to everything going on with COVID19.  However I was still set on going. My family and friends where trying to talk me out of it. One of them especially!  Stubborn old me was still set on going however.

As the days grew closer and closer, the worst things where getting. Infections rates where rising. It was spreading across the world at such a rapid rate. Boarders where being  blocked, countries where quartineing visitors on arrival. Air lines where cancelling flights left, right and centre.  By the weekend just before I was due to leave I had no choice.

I had to cancel my long awaited trip!!!!

About a week later the government here had put in stage one lockdown and not long after that we where into stage three lockdown. Panic buying had kicked in and things where flying off the shelves. But at least we where pretty luck as we could still go to the shops and purchase most things. So I wasn’t short on supplies. Ok maybe a bit short on toilet paper.

That stuff was like gold!.

Having to spend so much time at home now, I had no excuse anymore. I thought I better get back to doing some cooking and post on the blog of course.  So what to cook was the first question I asked myself?

Well no brainer Vietnamese street pizza of course!

But I had never made one before, but luckily I had sat on the street enough watching them being made. So I knew I could work it out

So this is how I made it!


If you would like to hear about more of my street food adventures, check out some of my previous posts here.

Saba Eats Ho Chi Minh City

Saba Eats Malacca City – Satay Celup


Vietnamese Street Pizza
Bánh Tráng Nướng

Friends of Saba




Vietnamese Sate Chilli Oil


Vietnamese Sate

Sa tế


So in my last post I made annatto oil.
The reason I made the annatto oil was that I wanted to use it in this sate recipe.

 I want to make this sate cause I will be using in a Spicy Beef Noodle soup recipe. Bún bò Huế or BBH for short. For those of you who have had BBH you will know its beautiful red color of the broth. Well that comes from this sate sauce.


For those who missed my last post, here is the link.

Annatto Oil

As you will need the Annatto oil for this recipe.

Annatto Oil

Now that you have made your annatto seed oil, let me tell you a bit about Vietnamese sate.   In Vietnamese its called Sa tế. Pounced very similar to satay but lets not get the two confused, as they are totally different thing. Sate is more like a Chinese chilli oil. It is spicy and packed full of flavor. Sate can be used as a dipping condiment, in stir fry’s, used in marinades. The list can go on and on. But I believe its most popular use in Vietnamese cuisine is to finish off the broth for BBH

As I don’t want my BBH to oily so I’m only using half the amount of oil in this recipe as I normally would. This should give me more of a dry paste, but if you want your sate more oily just double the amount of oil your using.

Now we have sorted our sate from our satays. Lets get a cooking hey?



1/2 Cup Annatto Seed Oil

1/2 Cup Lemongrass finely chopped

1/2 Cup Shallots finely chopped

1 Head of garlic finely chopped

1 Tablespoon Hot Chilli flakes

1 Tablespoon Hot Ground Chilli Powder

1/2 Tablespoon Salt

1/2 Tablespoon Sugar

You won’t believe how easy this is to make!

For the best results use fresh ingrediencies

Step 1. Finely chop your lemongrass, shallots and garlic.

(You can do it in a food processor if you like but I prefer the texture from hand cut)

Step 2. Add oil to your pan and bring to a medium high heat.

Step 3. Once oil has heated add your shallots, lemongrass and garlic.

Step 4. Stir fry for 1 minute.

Step 5. Add the salt and sugar and stir to combine

Step 6. Add the chilli and stir to combine

Step 7. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes stir occasionally.

Step 8. Turn off the heat and allow to sit and cool

Step 9. Once the sate has completely cooled transfer to your storage container or jar.

Vietnamese Sate

There you go peoples, now its ready to use.

How easy was that!!


Please tag me on your socials if you make this oil, & share this recipe with your friends & family.

I would love to see it!

Check out some of my other great condiments recipes here





Friends of Saba

Annatto Seed Oil. Dầu hạt điều

Annatto Seeds and Rice Bran Oil

Annatto Seeds and Rice Bran Oil


Annatto Oil


I know what your thinking. What is Annatto oil right?

Annatto is used in many cuisines including Vietnamese. We use it mainly for its color.

Add a bit to your noodle soup broths and it is gives a beautiful yellow to orange color.

To make the Annatto oil we add annatto seeds to vegetable oil and let them leach out the vibrant color. Which in turn will mix with the oil.

Where do annatto seeds come from?

Annatto seeds are the seed of the achiote tree so this oil is sometimes called achiote oil. In Vietnamese we call it dầu hạt điều.

Now your up to speed with what annatto is, let get this well oiled machinen a hapening




2 Tablespoons Annatto Seeds

1 Cup Vegetable Oil (I’m using Rice Bran Oil)


You won’t believe how easy this is to make!

Step 1. Add your seeds to a small pan.

Step 2. Cover the Annatto seeds with the oil.

Step 3. Heat the oil to it starts to bubble.

(Don’t let the seeds burn as the flavour will go bitter)

Step 4. Turn the heat down as low as it can go and simmer for 1 minute.

Step 5. turn off the heat and let oil and seeds steep for 10 minutes.

Step 6. Using a meatal strainer drain the oil to another bowl to remove the seeds.

Step 7. Once the oil has completely cooled transfer to your storage container or jar.

Completed Annatto Oil

Completed Annatto Oil


There you go peoples, now its ready to use.

How easy was that!!


Please tag me on your socials if you make this oil, and share this recipe with your friends and family.

I would love to see it!

Check out some of my other great condiments recipes here



Friends of Saba 

Saba Eats Malacca City – Chicken Rice Ball



Lorong Hang Jebat, Malacca

Saba Eats Malacca City

Chicken Rice Ball

So tis was the morning after my Satay Celup feast.  I woke up excited about what other food this great little city had to offer.   We had decided we where going to try the famous Chop Chung Wah Hainanese Chicken Rice Ball. I had been told how popular this place was and was also told to be prepared to queue up and wait to get in. I’m not a fan of queues but what can you do hey?

Beat the queue! 

So in order to beat the queue we would go there for breakfast. Pretty good plan I reckons. There couldn’t be too many people out & about looking for chicken rice first up in the morning right?

We washed up and got ready to hit the town. It was a Tuesday and a little bit before 8am. We made our way out of the hotel room and down to the street. To my surprise it was quiet, dead quiet. The whole street was empty and I couldn’t see much open.

Not to worry we headed to Chung Wah to get us some Chicken Rice Ball!  As we walked down Jonker Street things started to liven up and a few more shops where open. It’s like China town down there and tour guides taking groups around. I sort of don’t like being in tourist areas and always find restaurants in tourist areas just don’t live up to expectation. But I remembered everything I have heard about this place and all the photos of the queues and food. It just had to be good. I had a gut feeling this place was still going to live up to it.  I was starting to get really excited about the Chicken Rice Ball now!!

We could see Chung Wah’s ahead now and there was no queue in sight. I was thinking this is great. My plan had worked perfectly… Well I thought it did anyway.

But to my greatest disappointment it was not open yet.


Chung Wah Chicken Rice Ball

It wasn’t open for another hour. But we where all so hungry now and could not wait for another hour to eat. We decided to walk around and find something small to carry us over until the Chicken Rice Ball shop was open.

The hunt was on! 

We left the Jonker street area (I had to find where the locals ate)  and looked around for about 15 minutes. We finally stumbled across this little store which I could see  had 2 food trolleys stations just towards the front. There was no huge signage or flashy lights. There wasn’t even a window front. I liked the look of the place and we decided to go in for a look.

What treasures lay ahead!

As we made our way across the road I could see a man dipping fresh noodles into a big pot of boiling water. I was liking what I was seeing. Who doesn’t like fresh noodles right. So even before we had made our way over to the store I knew we would have to try these noodles.

Noodle Cooking Station



On the next trolley over from the noodle station was a bay maire tray of braised goodness. The tray was full of Pork belly, pig innards and a host of other things. I know innards ain’t for everyone but I love em for the most part. I don’t do tripe, I just never like it. Anyway, I knew we had to order some of this braised goodness. We ended up choosing some Pork Belly, Eggs, Tofu and pigs ears. I think there was some stomach or something like that too. Not 100% sure but I ate it anyway.

Braised Pork


The owner lady had recommended we also try the wonton soup.  Now who am I to argue with owner lady. So we ordered that too. We decided we better stop ordering as we still had Chicken Rice Ball after this. We made our way into the shop now to look for a table. But not before I took some photo.

We sat down at our table, it was just a fold out table and the chairs where plastic and red. This is what I love about Asia, so unpretentious. I really like this place, its got so much charm. Hope the food is just as good.


Wonton Soup

The wonton soup was delicious, the wontons where plum and juicy. The stock was so full of flavor.  Winner!

Char Siu and Egg noodles

The noodles where soft with just a little bit of bite. They where so good and the sauce was excellent. The char siu was a bit dry for my liking but mixed up with the noodles and greens it was good.

Braised Pork

The braised Pork belly was melt in your mouth, it was so good and flavor of the braise it self was so moreish. I could have eaten just plain rice and braising liquid and I would have been happy as jam. The pigs ear where soft and chewy, I liked them. The egg was a bit tuff but I expect that from a braised egg so no problem there. The tofu was great too. Over all a very good plate of food here.


Complete meal

I have to say I really enjoyed this place. From the shop its self, the way they cooked the food and the service was second to none. The friendly owners where fantastic. But most importantly I really enjoyed the food. The funny thing is I don’t know what the place was called. I don’t even remember the street name. But I’ll never forget the taste of the food. I’ll never forget how to get there too. This is a place I’ll come back to when ever I find my self in Malacca.

Back on the hunt for Chicken Rice Ball! 

Rice Ball

It was now time to head back to Chung Wah for some Chicken Rice Ball. To tell you the truth I was feeling a bit full, actually we where all feeling a bit full. But nothing was going to stop us from getting our Chicken Rice Ball.

Kedai Kopi Chung Wah

We finally made it back to Chung Wah and believe it or not. No queue at all. Fantastic! As we walked through the door we where greeted by a friendly lady who pointed us to our table. I was actually pretty surprise cause there was already a lot of people in the place.  We sat down at our table. All the tables I could see where round with hard wooden chairs. I’m pretty sure they are as old as the business it’s self. But don’t quote me on that.  The restaurant is tiled from the floor all the way up the walls and there are large fans on ceiling. It was a clean and tidy establishment.

Kedai Kopi Chung Wah

On the table was a jar of chilli sauce which you could help yourself to as much as you want.  It had a really nice smell to it and was well balanced. The heat was nice but might pack a bit of punch for the non-chilli eater.

Once we had sat down, the cutest little girl brought over some bowls and cutlery. I’m guessing she is the daughter of one of the owners but I never got around to asking. But she was so cute.


Kedai Kopi Chung Wah

We had order some drinks first. I had seen 100 plus all over Malaysia and Singapore but never actually tried it. I thought it was a soft drink but turns out it was a isotonic sports drink. I have to tell you, I’m not a fan 🙁

So as we where a little full we decided we would just order half a chicken and only one serve of rice balls to start. The rice balls come with 5 balls per serve.

Kedai Kopi Chung Wah

Once you make your order, old mate at the chopping station will chop up your chicken and it comes out real fast. The balls are pre rolled so from order to food on the table was like 1 minutes. This is my favorite type of fast food. No complaints from me about that!

Rice Ball

The rice balls are rolled tight, they are very fragrant so they smelt so good when they hit the table. At first glance you could almost be forgiven if you thought they where fish balls or something like that. I decided I would try one on its own just to see what it tasted like. I took my first long awaited  bite into these famous rice balls.  Oh I didn’t really think much of it. They tasted pretty gluggy to tell you the truth. I guess the ball is a good idea to get the crowd in but I think I would just rather a bowl of plain fluffy rice. But hey had to try it.

Well hope the chicken is better!

Kedai Kopi Chung Wah

I first off tried a bit from the breast, oh I was so disappointed again. It was dry and not tasty at all. But I generally don’t like white meat from a chicken but thought I would try it first to see if it was juicy or not. It wasn’t.

Next I tried a drum and wing, the dark meat is always the tastiest part of the chicken.  I love meat on the bone, so the next few bite was going to decided if I like this place of not. Starting with the wing, it was juicy and was fall off the bone. The meat still had a bit of bite, and the flavour was pretty good. I’m glad we only ordered a small portion now.


I would be lying if I told you this was my favorite meal of the day. It wasn’t. Actually it was far from it. I found the rice balls to be a bit of a gimmick, they where gluggy and flavourless. But hey they got me in the door from 6500km away, so they certainly did their job. The chicken was a bit hit a miss for me too. Sorry guys if you where excited to try this place as I was. But I need to tell you as it was and can’t gloss it over. The service was great, and the staff all so friendly. It was cool seeing old mate in action on the chopping station. Yes I get my kicks from the little things like that.  I have not ridden this place off just yet. I would like to try this place again.  Next time on an empty stomach. I was quite full when I tried this, so that may have effected how I felt about it.   I would still recommend anyone come and give the place a try.  Plus this place is an institution and being foodies you have to go give it a try.



Make sure you come back and join me in my last eating adventure in Malacca as I discover the wonderful world of Nyonya Cuisine

If you like my content, please spread the love and share it on all the socials or better yet subscribe to my news letter and receive all the latest updates and never miss a new post.

Saba Eats Malacca City!
Chicken Rice Ball

Friends of Saba.


Homemade Ground Chilli Sauce


Homemade Ground Chilli Sauce

Homemade ground chilli sauce.


A friend of mine grows these large red chillies. Cause he knows how much I love chilli, he was nice enough to give me a few of them.

I find that these long chillies are not very spicy.  However do have a very nice flavour to them.

Also I would never say no to some free chillies lol

These long chillies are great char grilled and served as side.

So I grilled a few of them up and had them this way.

I had eaten them grilled for a few days straight. But there was way too many for me to keep  eating them like that. I still a dozen left and didn’t want to waist them.  So I had to come up with another way to use em all up. As such I decided to make a sauce with them.

There is a certain brand of ground chilli sauce that I like, and I had just ran out so I had an empty jar ready to go. Perfect timing!!

You maybe able to guess the brand by the jar  🙂

Lets see how I made it hey?



12.  Long Chilies

1/2 Head of garlic

1/2 Tablespoon Fish Sauce

1 Tablespoon White Sugar

1 Tablespoon White Vinegar

Fresh Chillies




First off I washed and dried the chillies.

 I chopped the chillies into small rounds. Just to help the food processor out.

Then separated and peeled the garlic bulbs.

To the food processor I added the chilli, garlic, sugar and fish sauce.

Gave it a quick wizz. I didn’t process it for too long as I wanted this to be a thick sauce.

Next I transferred the chilli paste in to a jar and covered it with a cheese cloth.

I placed it in my pantry to ensure it was at room temperature and in a dry spot.

I also wanted to ensure it was out of direct sunlight.

After the second day, I took it out of the pantry. The smell was quite pungent at this stage and there where plenty of little bubbles in the paste so the fermenting was coming along nicely.  I removed the cheese cloth and gave the paste a good stir.  Replaced the cheese cloth and placed it back in the pantry to ferment for a few more day.

I repeated the stirring process each day.

I fermented the paste for 8 days in total.

Once I was happy that I had fermented the paste long enough I transferred it to a blender and add the vinegar. Gave it a quick blend just to mix the vinegar in and thin the paste slightly.

Then I transfer it to clean jar and put it in the refrigerator.

Homemade Ground Chilli Sauce



That’s it is peoples, that how I made my  ground chilli sauce.





Please tag me on your socials if you make this sauce, and share this recipe with your friends and family.

I would love to see it!

Check out some of my other great chilli recipes here

Home Made Chilli Flakes

Chilli Flower Blossom Garnish


Friends of Saba

Saba Eats Malacca City – Satay Celup




Melaka City



Saba Eats Malacca City

Satay Celup

WOW its been a few months now since my last Saba Eats post.  Sorry guys, I’ve been super busy traveling and eating. I know, tuff isn’t?

The life of a blogger!!

My most recent travels have landed me in Malaysia.  I started my travels in Johor Bahru, which is the border town to Singapore. After eating my way through Johor Bahru I made my way to a township named Yong Peng. From there it was a short drive to the old town of Malacca city. Malacca city will be the focus of todays post.  I also traveled up the mountains to Genting Highlands and finished off in of course the mega city known as Kuala Lumpur. I will write a post about them in the near future.

Malacca City!

Malacca also spelt Melaka is the oldest city in Malaysia. Although it has influences from various cultures from the middle east to India, to south east Asia. Turn a corner and one could be mistaken to believe they where in Europe and then turn another corner and believe they where in China.

Melaka River

However I would dare say its main influence is Chinese.  The early Chinese settler to Malaysia are know as Peranakan, but are generally referred to as Baba Nyonya.  Nyonya refers to the women and Baba the men. Malacca is famous for it Nyonya cuisine hence why I landed here. But there is also a few other thing Malacca is famous for, and this is one of them.

Satay Celup

Satay Celup directly translates to Dunking Satay. It is named so cause you dunk your assortment of skewered seafood, meats and vegetables into a satay hotpot.  Its a local favourite and the places that serve satay celup are always busy. From the day I heard about satay celup I knew I would have to come here and try it.

I arrived to Malacca in the afternoon, checked in, had a freshen up and then headed out in search of this legendary satay celup.

 I was planning to visit the original satay celup store but it was closed on the day I arrived. I end up going to my second choice of store but I was happy none the less. The shop was located in the main street and was modest and unpretentious.

Exactly the way I like it in Asia!

Satay Celup at Ban Lee Siang

The store is open plan with a tiled floor and plenty of seating (plastic chairs) and some table and chairs also set up outside.


It was a very hot day, but lucky it rained (a hell of a lot) before dinner and it was so much cooler then the day time.

Calm before the storm


This worked out well as it was still pretty hot inside the shop. There was no air-conditioning just a lot of fans. We got a table close to the front of the shop and could feel the breeze from the outside which was much needed.  Each table has the star of the show located dead centre in the middle. That star being satay hotpot. Its a big pot of satay goodness built right into the table and is heated by gas.

The Satay Celup Hot Pot


Its a simple set up, and used portable LPG gas bottle. Although it wouldn’t pass regulations here at home, I like the crudeness of it all and gave me a good laugh to see how it was set up.


Gas bottle connected to table


There was endless skewers to choose from.  From raw to semi cooked seafood. Meats and tones of vegetable options.  There was even an assortment of eggs you could choose from. Century eggs to quail eggs and more. Eggcellent !! All the skewers are kept in display fridges so no need to worry about them sitting out in the heat. You get given a stainless steel tray and make your way over to the fridges and just help yourself to what ever skewers you so desire.  Sort of like a buffet.

Selection of skewers

For round one I choose a mix of fresh seafood, meat , seafood balls, vegetable and some seafood paste stuffed chilies. There would be plenty more rounds to be had.

Now let the dunking begin!



So its pretty straight forward, you dunk your skewers into the hotpot and just move them around every now and then to they are cooked through. The satay broth is so delicious and I also scooped some out to use as a dipping sauce. Sooooo Gooooood!!!

Every now and then a staff member will come and adjust your broth to make sure its always filled and at the right consistency.


Judging by the below photo it will be impossible  to say I didn’t enjoy it. There where skewers I didn’t love but overall I really enjoyed it. The food was delicous, the satay broth was awesome. It was noisy as hell, but that was like music to my ears. The smells where intoxicating. It felt so communal, everyone was talking and having fun amongst each other. It was just an awesome and delicious time.  I also love the way they work out your bill. They will come to your table and count up your skewer sticks, add your drinks and that’s your bill. So simple and it works!

I would most certainly visit this place again if I’m ever in Malacca again.

Now for some strange reason I dare say I will be back!!!

The aftermath of Satay Celup


Make sure you tune in for part 2 of Saba Eats Malacca City as I explore what else this historic city has to offer my stomach!!

If you like my content, please spread the love and share it on all the socials or better yet subscribe to my news letter and receive all the latest updates and never miss a new post.


Saba Eats Malacca City!

Satay Celup

Friends of Saba.

Love Heart Shaped Spring Onion Garnish


Love heart shaped spring onion garnish.

Having a beautiful garnish can lift the look of your dish from simple to down right mouth watering. I find using simple little tricks and changing the shapes of a garnish you already use can really make the food on the plate pop. Just like this love heart shaped spring onion. I love this garnish, its so easy to make and adds such an impact to the plate. You will find that you will start to use them  quite often.  I grow my spring onion at home, sometimes I can’t keep up with eating it all and some of these will grow really big and fat. These ones are perfect for this use. Its so much easier to work with these larger ones. All you need is a sharp knife and a chopping board.

Lets make some love hey?



1. Spring onions  (Green Part Only )
Also the bigger the spring onion the easier this will be.


First off wash and dry your spring onions.

Start by laying your spring onion horizontally across your chopping board.

Fold the spring onion in half long wise.

Holding your knife at a 45 degree angle then begin to slice the spring onion at 2mm thick intervals.

There it is peoples Love heart shaped Spring Onion Garnish



Please tag me on your socials if you make this dish. And share this recipe with your friends and family. I would love to see it!

Check out one of my other great garnishes here

Chilli Flower Blossom Garnish


Friends of Saba

Vietnamese Vegan Scrambled Eggs and Bitter Melon

Vegan Scrambled Eggs and Bitter Melon

Vietnamese Vegan Scrambled Eggs and Bitter Melon

Vietnamese Vegan Scrambled Eggs and Bitter Melon



I know what you are all thinking and want to ask me. Saba what’s going on, a Vegan dish??      Don’t hit the panic button just yet.  I’m not turning Vegan, not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just not for me.

A friend of mine turned Vegan about a year ago. She said to me recently it hasn’t been that hard to do but how she longed for some of her childhood dishes. She said she has looked all over the internet to find vegan alternative recipes to no avail.  I said to her let me see what I could do. I invited her over for  dinner but told her to give me a month to come up with some dishes.  The clock is counting down.


I know one of her childhood favorite dishes is bitter melon with scrabbled eggs so I made that a starting point.  Me thought this would be pretty straight forward as I had heard of tofu scrambled egg, so I just thought I would make tofu scramble and add the bitter melon. I did that but the tofu eggs just didn’t taste good. Well they didn’t taste like eggs anyway.


So after many failed attempts I thought I would do some research and I stumbled across a ingredient called Himalayan Black Salt. Also know as Kala Namak.  Kala Namak has a very pungent smell due to sulfur content. The only way I can describe the smell is like boiled eggs. Hence why its perfect for this dish as its makes your tofu smell and taste like eggs.


Another important ingredient in this scrambled eggs is nutritional yeast.  What the hell is that, it is basically dead yeast that can no longer ferment. It has a cheesy taste similar to parmesan cheese and will help your scrambled tofu become creamy. Perfect for this dish!


220g Firm Tofu
1 Tbsp Rice Bran Oil
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/2 Tsp Hot Chilli Powder
1/2 Tsp Hot Chilli Flakes
1/2 Tbsp Turmeric
½ Tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
½ Tsp Black Salt (Kala Namak)
½ Tbsp Water
2 Large Bitter Melons
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Stalk Spring Onion
1 Tsp Sugar

1 Tbsp Salt
500 Mls Water

½ Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Birds Eye Chilli





Step 1. Make the salt bath.

In a large bowl add the salt, and water. Stir to all the salt is dissolved.

Step 2. Wash the bitter Melon

  • slice the ends off each melon the cut in half long ways
  • Remove the seeds from the melon
  • slice each melon into 1/2 cm half moons
  •  place melon into salt bath for 10 minutes
  • rinse melon well under cold running water


Step 3. finely chop your spring onion and garlic


Step 4. In a cold frying pan crumble in your Tofu. Try to keep the chunks fairly large as they will break down more during the cooking process.


Step 5. Add to the pan

  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Half the oil
  • Hot Chilli Flakes
  • Hot Chilli Powder
  •  Tumric
  • Half Soy Sauce
  • Black Salt

Step 6. Turn the heat on to medium high and mix well for about 1 minute

Step 7. Add the water and stir fry for about another minute

Step 8. Add the black Pepper and stir in well.  Remove the Scrambled eggs from the pan and wipe the pan clean.

(You just made Saba’s spicy tofu scrambled eggs) 

Step 9. Put the pan back on the heat and add remaining oil and the garlic, fry until fragrant.

Step 10. Add the bitter melon, then stir fry for 30 seconds.

Step 11. Add the sugar, remaining soy souce and mix well. stir fry for another 2 minute

Step 12. Add the scrambled eggs back into the pan and stir fy for another minute.

Step 13. Add half the spring onion, mix in well and turn off the heat.

Step 14. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with remaining spring onion.

Step 15. To make the sauce finely chop the chilli and add it to the soy sauce.



There you go peoples  you just made Saba’s Vietnamese Vegan Scrambled Eggs and Bitter  Melon.

How easy was that!!

Vegan Scrambled Eggs & Bitter Melon


Please tag me on your socials if you make this recipe, and

Share this recipe with your friends and family.

I would love to see it!

Check out some of my other great Vegan recipes here

Spicy Vegan Okara Seasoning Powder

Home Made Soy Milk


Vietnamese Vegan Scrambled Eggs and Bitter Mellon

Friends of sabablacksheep

Saba Eats Ho Chi Minh City. Part 2


Saba Eats Ho Chi Minh City


Part Two

WOW its been a few months now from my last Saba Eats Ho Chi Minh City post. Sorry guys, I’ve been super busy with a few projects and have let the blog slip a bit.  I promise to get back on horse and start posting more regularly now. Since the time that has past I’ve actually been back to Vietnam and visited Ho Chi Minh City on a few separate occasions,  amongst other places in Vietnam. Now this post isn’t going to continue from my previous post but I’ll fast forward to one of my more recent trips as I’ve come to be quite familiar with the place now.

The hunt is on! 

It was 6.30PM on a hot August night. It had rained earlier so it was quite humid. I was sweating, a bit tired and very hungry.  I decided I better head out and look for something to eat. That was the main reason of me heading to Vietnam in the first place so now was a good a  time as any to start filling my belly.

I was staying at district one this time, so I was right in the guts of it all. I headed to Bến Thành Market about a three minute walk from my hotel. Bến Thành Market is a big market place in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a busy place and is popular with the tourist. Being a tourist hot spot I find the prices around here a little bit more expensive but in the grand scheme of things it’s peanuts compared to what I would pay back home. But for those who are on a tight budget please take note.

Prices aside I always find its a good starting place to find me a good feed.

I made my through the market, which took me a little longer then expected as I was haggled by store owners to stop and check out what they where selling. I can’t blame them, everyone need to earn a dollar right?

Once I got through to the market, I found my self in front of a food stall. It was a small place with very low small stainless tables and little red plastic chairs. So cute!  They had a heap of fans on the walls that did vertically nothing to cool me down. It was a very basic set up, which I really love and think is just awesome. Its really makes you feel like you are in Vietnam.

The stall was selling Bún mắm. For those of you who have not heard of this dish, Bún mắm is a Vietnamese noodle soup. The noodles are thick vermicelli and the soup is made from a fermented fish paste. Its is an acquired taste to say the least. You have been warned. It falls into a catagory of Vietnamese foods called

“smells like hell, taste like heaven”

Lucky for me I have an acquired  palette.



Now this is one of my favorite noodle soups to eat. Along side the thick noodles are prawns, bbq pork, squid, eggplant and a host of fresh herbs and greens. But for this dish to be good the balance of the soup needs to be spot on. Back home its very hard to find a place that can get the balance right. They are either way too salt or over the top sweet. But this place hit the nail on the head and got it spot on. I was very impressed and will be heading back here again on my next visit. If I can remember how to get there again lol

One of Saba’s favourite eats in Ho Chi Minh City!


After digesting my bowl of noodles I headed over to Bui Vien Street, which was only about a 15 minute walk from the market. Bui Vien street is a very busy street, its lined with bars and food stalls and also has a bit of seediness to it. It is loud down there. You will find the streets full of tourist and locals alike. There was only two reason I headed down to Bui Vien street. The first was to get a drink, as I was very thirsty after my bowl of noodle soup and needed to wash it down with a nice cold beer. My choice of beer when in Saigon is of course Saigon Bia.

Saigon red to be exact.

I always go to the same little bar each time I visit this place. It’s only a very small place with about 10 tables. The beer here is amongst the cheapest you will find on Bui Vien street. The two lady owners have gotten to know me over my few visits and are very friendly. They know what beer I like to drink and I don’t even need to order anymore as they automatically open a bottle for me and put it on my table. Great customer service if you ask me. So after a few refreshments the time had slipped away from me and a few hours had past. I needed to move on to the second reason I headed to Bui Vien Street.

Gumbo!  What Gumbo I hear you say. Yes Gumbo.

 Ok let me tell the story of why I needed to go find this Gumbo. When I was in Saigon last time at the airport waiting for my plane home.  I was sitting next to an American fella who was catching the same flight as me. We had a 2 hour wait, so we got a talking. He told me he was from Louisiana. Straight away it popped in my mind and I said to him “you guys eat gumbo there right?”  He replied “oh you know Gumbo, have you tried it before?”  I said “no unfortunately”   He asked me why and I explained to him that as I had no idea what it tasted like and that I didn’t want to try it unless I was in America. If I was going to try something for the first time I really wanted it to be the real deal.

He then told me about a store in Bui Vien who sold Gumbo. I found this rather strange, but he told me that the previous owner was from America and had passed the recipe onto the current owner who had now been serving it for years. He said it was a really good Gumbo and if I ever was in Saigon again I should try it. From that day it was on my to do list.


After leaving the bar I headed over to the stall that sold the gumbo, we ordered the gumbo and I was so excited.  So now all I had to do was wait. I ordered a beer and waited for my Gumbo to be served. Now when I say waited, I really had to wait and wait and wait. It felt like forever before it came out. This wasn’t due to my excitement it actually took them 40 minutes to get it out to me. During the time I was waiting I just kept saying to myself it is so going to be worth the wait.

So my Gumbo finally arrived. It was a fair sized bowl, and came with a serving of white long grain rice. I’m not sure if this is how they would serve it America, but I was in Vietnam so I guess the rice is a must.

It looked good, and smelt great. It was time to finally dig in and try this gumbo.  I got my spoon and took my first taste of the soup. My first thought was its ok, but it was still very hot so can’t really judge it just yet. As I kept eating it the taste didn’t get any better. Actually the more I ate the less I was enjoying it. Oh I was very sad, all my excitement just lead to disappointment. I only got through half the bowl and I couldn’t’ eat anymore. I pushed my bowl away from me as I was done with this Gumbo.

Me ordered another beer as I had to wash this gumbo out of my mouth.  Upon turning to my right, I noticed there was another gentleman who was also eating the Gumbo. He looked at me and then looked at my bowl  then  said to me

“I know its not that good today”

He explained that he comes to this place regularly and the gumbo was always spot on but for some reason today there was just something not right about it.   I haven’t ridden Gumbo off, but I don’t think I would come back to this place and have it again. I think the next time I try Gumbo I will have to be in Louisiana.

As such I moved on, had a few more beers and called it a night.

More Eats to come in Part 3!

Part 2 Saba Eats Ho Chi Minh City!

Saba Eats Ho Chi Minh City



Part One

The Plan. The Plane. The Palace.


So recently I visited the motherland. It had been over a decade since I had last visited. I remember the the last time I went, I didn’t really enjoy all the hustle and bustle of the cities in Vietnam. I didn’t like the crazy roads or trying to look for a toilet when your busting to go. I didn’t like a lot of thing. But that was only the cities. I did truly love it out in the country side and boy oh boy did I love the food. But I was much younger then, these days I’m all about the culture and love getting amongst it all. But the hustle and bustle of the cites was too much for me that time. The last few times I went I got pretty cheap accommodation, which was ok. But this time I decided I would splash out a bit and stay somewhere a bit more flash. I was only planning to stay in Ho Chi Minh City this time as I was heading there for my best friend’s wedding. I was thinking if the hustle and bustle of the city got a bit much for me this time, I could always retreat back to the comfort of my accommodation. So I picked a very nice suite at the Sheerwood suites in District 3. It’s a very modern and beautiful hotel. The suite was huge and the facilities where second to none. Oh I know not exactly immersing myself in the culture, but this was part of the plan. I usually fly budget airlines too but this time I flew on Singapore airlines. Can I just say WOW!!! This was by far the best flight I had ever been on. The comfort and service where soooooo good. I don’t often give out recommendations but I would not hesitate to recommend them anytime. They have now become Saba’s airline of choice. I wounder if they would ever let me create a menu for their onboard menu hahahah. So the accommodation was booked, the flight was booked and my Visa was approved, now I just had to wait for the date!.

Dee Day!

The day had finally arrived. It was 1 am in morning. Plan was to sleep as much as possible on the flight so having a 1 am  flight time was perfect! As I was flying with Singapore airline it was not a direct flight. From Melbourne we had to a stop over at Singapore for 4 hours. This was fine with me. If your going to have to do a stopover at any airport. Singapore’s Changi airport is the one you want it to be at. As I mentioned up until now I had only flown with budget airlines so this was a whole new experience for me. Food was all inclusive, which was pretty good. I don’t really care much for airplane food but it wasn’t bad to tell you the truth. Entertainment was included, which was great as I could watch some movies, the chair even had a usb port. Which was quite exciting for a simple guy like me. I could charge my phone and play all the games and listen to all the music I wanted too without fear of my batterie running flat. I was quite pleased with my decision not to go with a budget airline this time. So we finally arrived at Singapore 5.45am local time (flight time was 7hrs and 45mins) My plan of sleeping most of the way did not quite pan out right. I didn’t sleep a wink. I have to tell you I’m usually only good for about 4  hours on a flight then I’m buggered after that. But when I arrived in Singapore I was feeling fresh. I put this down to the comfort and service on Singapore airlines.

So we had 4hours to kill at Singapore’s Changi airport, so what does one do when you got to kill 4 hours. Go hunt down some food of course. The food hunt was on, the first place we came across was selling bakkwa which is like jerky of sorts. I have had their bakkwa, on previous trips to Singapore. But one of my travelling partners had never been to Singapore, actually he had never left Australia before so we had to try some for him. They had quite the selection and we weren’t sure what to choose, so we just asked the lady to give us the spiciest one they had. It was delicious but wasn’t really that spicy to tell you the truth. Next was onto the food court, we had so much selection here, and we all had something different. I had some roast duck on rice and the others had noodle dishes, rices dishes and so on. With full tummies and a few more hours to kill, we strolled around the airport for a while, mostly doing window shopping.

Our 4 hours had passed. Now on to the next plane and we were well on our way to Ho Chi Minh. Our plane had landed right on time. It was 11 am local time. It did take us a while to exit the plane and clear immigration. To tell you the truth the lines for immigration where huge and I though we where never going to get out of there. But after some times we did. Walked out the doors and boom. Did the heat hit me or what?? It was hot hot hot. Waiting for us was my best friend and his soon to be wife. He had arranged a taxi for us to take us to the hotel. So we set off to the hotel in district 3. The ride was interesting to say the least. The traffic was exactly how I remember it. Crazy as hell. There where a million horns honking, people cutting off each other. People riding on the footpaths. It was Vietnam! You know the funny thing, all of those years before I hated that, but on this day, I absolutely loved it. It was just facitaing to me, how all this craziness, which seemed to have no rules just worked. There was no road rage, no anger, nothing like that. Just everyone going about their business. I must say this time around I really found an appreciation for it. My friend who had never left Australia however was just left in shock to say to least. The best thing was he hadn’t seen nothing yet. He still had to cross the road on foot to look forward to lol.


Welcome to the palace. Sheerwood suites in district 3. It was beautiful and so luxurious. Maybe a bit too flash for a simple guy like me. Ok maybe not. The staff where very welcoming and we where blown away by the suite. They even had fruit hampers waiting for us on arrival.

It was even better in real life then it was in the photos on the internet.


I know unusual hey?  There was 6 of us staying here. 4 adults and 2 kids. The suite had a master room where the kids and their mum and dad stayed. The other room had 2 single beds. I took one of the single beds. The place was plenty big and we didn’t feel like we where ever in each others space.  The kitchen was fully equipped with every appliances you needed. Not that we where planning on cooking anything here. Street food was our plan.  But it was all there if you needed it. There was a supermarket just across the road which we went down too and stock up on the fridge essentials. You know 333 beer of course. Oh yeah and milk and food for the kids too. After stocking the fridge, unpacking and washing up.

We went and explored the Hotel. The pool and spa area was excellent it was on one of the lower floors but was fully open so you sort of felt like you where outside but inside at the same time. This was going to be the perfect place for me to escape the hustle bustle if I needed.

There was a great side spa and awesome sauna too. There was even a bar right near the pool. They had a gym next to the pool area and next to that was a pool table and then a kids play room, they had it all. It was a very luxurious place indeed.

So after checking the place out we though we would relax a bit before we would head out to the hustle and bustle of the outside world in search of the most important thing. Food!!

So we headed down to the lobby bar and ordered a few beers and some refreshing tropical fruits. I also ordered a mango custard just for good measure. Hey I’m on holidays alright lol.

As I sat back and enjoyed my ice cold beer,  I closed my eyes and a sense of calm came over me. I was feeling one with my mother land again. I felt at home. I was in Vietnam again.

And when in Vietnam, do what the Vietnamese do.


Come and join me in the next chapter as I explore the wonderful world of HCMC street food.

Saba Eats Ho Chi Minh City

PORK ON PORK! Vietnamese BBQ Pork Chops



In todays post I’m not really focusing on the food. What I hear you say. That’s right. I said it. I’m not focusing on the food. I’m going to focus on the BBQ I cooked it on. For thoese who know or follow me. You know that I have a love of grilling meat over charcoal. I’m not sure if its the sizzling sound from when the fat drips onto the coals, or the inviting smells that come wofting off. who knows.  Ok this post has nothing to do with that.  I’ll fess up, I just wanted to show off my BBQ’s  😊

Isn’t he just the coolest looking barbecue you have ever seen. I named him Kevin. Now let me tell you the story of how Kevin the piggy-q  came to be.

I know old mate through work and he turns junk metal into all sorts of thing. He has a very vivid imagination and you would be stunned at what he can come up with.

He doesn’t work on Thursdays, so every Wednesday night he spends it is his shed. He has a few beers and works away at making these metal master pieces, yes it ‘s very Australian for a bloke to be in his shed having a few beers and just tinkering away at things.

So anyway, every Wednesday is his Shed Night. But I tell you a bit more about that later.

Take for example this awesome titanium rose, what a work of art right. I though it just looked perfect next to my rose dumplings 😊😊😊

So we where having a chat one day in my office and he showed me a picture of some of the roses he had made, and I thought they where just bloody awesome! So I asked him if he thought he could make a bbq out of an old beer keg. I always wanted a BBQ of that shape. Not sure why, I’m strange like that.  As conversation went on, the keg became a LPG gas bottle, then I suggested a pig. Its funny how a simple conversation of  rose turned into a challenge to make me a custom made pig bbq.

So the challenge was accepted and the mission to makes Saba’s piggy-q was on.

So a little bit of time had lappst and I hadn’t heard much about the BBQ until I got a text with this photo attached.

This was the beginnings of what would come to be my piggy-q

So I replied to the text and said “please don’t blow yourself up”

So about two weeks later old mate had finished my prototype pig bbq.

He named it Saba-pig model one. But I named it Kevin, cause that’s old mates name and I thought it was just fitting.

I only had one task to do first before I could use it.

I had to get the approval from the furry four legged guy, to see if he would approve of it being in the house.

So first there was a bit of a stare down!

Then there was a bit of sniffing!

But in the end he gave it the all clear!!

Same thing happen when the old black sheep came home too.

Other then Shorty Kun, everyone who had seen the little bbq was so impressed by it. People where saying they wanted one too. But old mate Kevin only really wants to do this as a hobby. But I said to him with your skills you should make a business out of it. But he was content to just keep it as a hobby. I said well you should just come up with a business name just incase one day you might need it. And I had just the name for him.


Don’t you just think its the perfect name for something that one day that might be.


Some time has passed now since the shed knight made my Kevin (Saba-pig model one)

So he’s made some tweaks and the humble model one now looks like this

Just awesome don’t you think?

But I had something else in mind for this pink piggy.

And it might have involved my other love. Beer!!

Check it out in my video.



You didn’t think I was going to do a post with no food or cooking at all did you.

If you want to have a crack at cooking these chops yourself, you can use this recipe click here from a pervious post to marinate them.

You can enjoy these pork chops in so may ways.

Here are a few suggestions


Classic Vietnamese Broken Rice with Pork Chop

Egg noodle with Pork Chop and Sunny Side Up Egg


There you go peoples my pork chops cooked on my custom made piggy-q

If you would like to see more of the shed knights creation you can find him on Instagram shedknight







Its been so long since my last post. A lots gone on in my life and my cooking and the blog had to take a break on the bench for a while there. But I’m back and I feel like cooking again, so watch this space.

So to kick things off I thought I would start with something simple.

A little while ago I was given a bag of sardines from old mate at work who’s father is a fisher man. Woo hoo lucky me hey!! As they where only caught early that morning they where super fresh so I actually ate a few of them raw. Sashimi style just to taste them in there true form and I must say they were delicious, very delicious!! I didn’t want to over power the flavour of them too much as they were so fresh.

Now given the fact its been so long since my last post,  I thought I would treat you to,

 not one

not two

but three lovely dishes today!!

Let’s see what I did with these little bad boy sardines hey?  Lets!!!!

Saba-dine Toast 

Sardine Toast

So to kick things off I made a very simple toast.  Yes it was simple but I tell you with no word of a lie.  It was absolutely delicious!

So first off I butterflied the sardines. I did this by simply cutting through the belly right down to near the tail but leaving the tail fins intact. I then removed the head and cleaned out all the guts and internals. Then proceeded to remove the bones.

Next I seasoned the sardines with salt and pepper. Pretty basic stuff I know. Then I seared them in a hot frying pan for about a minute on each side. Next it was on to the bread. I used a nice sour dough bread, sliced off a generously thick piece and toasted it in the same pan as I cooked the sardines in just to suck up any extra flavour left in the pan.  Next I used an achovette to spread on the bread. Its not fishy or overly salty or anything like that. Its sort of like a pâté and a pâté would work really well on this too. But you could use any spread you like or just simply butter if you wish.

Next I put the sardines on top, added some diced cheery tomatoes and garnished it with some young watercress leaves.

Then I drizzled some extra virgin oil on and a squeeze of lemon for a bit of a zing.  And that is that, my saba-dine toast!


Told you it was simple.

Anyway that’s my boast about my saba-dine toast lol




Perilla Wrapped Saba-dine Tempura 

Perilla Wrapped Sardine Tempura

This year my crop of perilla has been growing so well that its been hard for me to keep up with eating it all. I know not a bad problem to have. So I try to just use it when ever I can.

And today was a perfect opportunity to use some.

So first up, I cut the tails off my butterflied sardines. I then laid each sardine in a perilla leaf. Spread a dollop of Kewpie mayo and a band of hot sauce for good measure. Then proceed to wrap those little bad boys up like they where going to sleep on a cold day.

Next I made a flour mix of one cup of plain flour and one table spoon of corn starch. Then dusted each wrapped sardine with a light coat of the flour mix.

Next I added some ice cubes to the flour and some water. I added a touch too much water as I usually like this batter to have more lumps which help to make a crisper skin when frying.

Anywayz I battled on

Now it was straight out of the cold batter into the hot oil for these little guys.

They only need a few minutes in the oil and that’s all he wrote!

Did you enjoy the allure of my tempura?



Manta Ray – Saba-dine Pressed Sushi 

Sardine Pressed Sushi

This dish was actually a lot easier to make then it looks and uses very little ingrediencies.

For this dish I used long grain Jasmin rice, but normally I would not use this type of rice but I had some left over in the fridge and could not let it go to waist. But I recommend that you use sushi rice for a dish such as this. It is stickier and holds it shape much better.

So after taking my left over rice from the fridge I added about a tablespoon of shichimi (Japanese 7 spice powder) I really love this spice mix and adds loads of flavour to plain rice.

Next step was to shape my rice, I knew exactly what size I wanted it to be and as chance would have it I had the perfect mould for it. And that mould was none other then a used sardine can. The irony of it all.

So I lined the can with some plastic cling wrap as to help to remove the rice from the can later. I spooned in the rice and pressed it down firmly with the back of a spoon.

I really wanted this to end up looking like one of those majestic manta rays with their wings spread out proudly and tail through the back. Well that’s how I envisioned this dish to look but it didn’t quite look right. But this was an off the cuff first try so I’m happy none the less.

So to make it look like a manta ray I had to make the wings. So I cut a sheet of nori into a rectangle then trimmed the sides to give the wings their shape. Next time I would make them longer and sharper I think. So now my wings where done it was time to merge them with the body. So I lay the wings down flat and put my can of rice on top then proceeded to extract the rice gently from the can. Two steps down.

The next step was to give the body that marine look and the tail it needed to have. So I fried off my butterflied sardines in a frying pan for a minute on each side. I then added some teriyaki sauce to the pan and glazed it over the sardines. Once they where cooked and the colour looked perfect I removed them from the pan and straight on to the rice. I made a boo boo here and broke one of the tails. Oh No’s!!

Now I wanted the wings to stand up so I applied some wasabi down both sides to help stick the nori to the rice and have the wings stay up.  Just to add some finishing touches I garnished the sardines with some of the shichimi and pea shoot leaves.

That’s how I made my manta ray sardine pressed sushi my friends!

Did my manta ray, make your day?


Thanks for stopping by, if you like my content please spread the word!!

Vietnamese Pickled Garlic Chives & Bean Shoots

Vietnamese Pickled Garlic Chives & Bean Shoots

Now you all know I’m a huge fan of anything pickled. The zesty zing they add to a dish can change a boring meal into something special. In this recipe we are going to make pickled garlic chive and bean shoots. It’s super easy to make and will be ready to eat in just about no time because unlike a traditional style of pickling. This recipe employs the quick pickle method, so no caning is required and as such is meant to eaten rather quickly. However they need to be refrigerated and will last for up to 2 months.



200g Asian Garlic Chives
200g Bean Shoots
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup White Vinegar
1 Cup Hot Water
1 table spoon Salt

8 Hot Chillies (optional)




Step 1.  Wash both the garlic chives and bean shoots then shake well to dry.

Step 2. Cut the garlic chives into 5 cm lengths.

Step 3. Add the sugar and hot water to a large mixing bowl.

Stir well to all the sugar has dissolved.

Then add salt and stir to dissolve again.

Finally add the vinegar and stir to combine.

Step 4. Add the garlic chives and bean shoots to the bowl. Also add the chillies if using.

Give everything a good mix up, but be gentle as not to break the bean shoots.

Allow everything to rest in the bowl until the bean shoots are soften. About an hour.

Step 5.  Transfer the vegetables into a clean pickling jar.

Step 6.  Cover the vegetable with the pickling brine ensuring all vegetables are submerged.

Step 7.  Close the lid of the jar and place in the refrigerator over night.


There you go peoples Vietnamese pickled garlic chives and bean shoots. How easy was that!!

Vietnamese pickled garlic chives and bean shoots.



BEYOND THE BRAND – 8 Frame Honey

Welcome to the second edition of my new segment.


Where I sit down and chat with business leaders in the food industry to find out more about the people that make these companies and brands tick. Hopefully we can get some insight into what makes their companies so great and gain a few helpful tips along the way.


Today I sit down and chat with Ben Merivale. Founder of 8 Frame Honey to get to know the man behind the brand.

  Saba. Tell me a bit about yourself Ben and your background?

B.M.  I have always loved being outdoors. Camping, hiking, gardening, walking the dog, whatever the task, being outside makes me happy. My wife and I moved from the ever expanding Sydney commuting times to the outskirts of Canberra to improve the quality of our lives and that of our future kids. We purchased a large block of land big enough for our kids to run around for hours and keep a few animals – or several thousand as it turned out. Prior to becoming a beekeeper and educator I ran a garden maintenance business. Working outside was great even though the freezing Canberra winter mornings were not so much fun. It beat working in an office all day! The business was successful and quickly expanded to several staff members and involved me working 6 days a week and often 10-12 hours a day.

My wife and I were fortunate enough to have a baby girl shortly after our move to Canberra and this changed my view on life.  I sold the gardening business to become a stay-at-home dad and started 8 Frame Honey as a part-time business. I hope once my daughter is at school I can further expand the business and it will give me the freedom to have the optimal work-life balance.

Saba. What motivates you Ben?

B.M. Setting a good example for my daughter motivates me to try to do little things everyday to improve our lives and our planet. Whether that is taking time to have a meal as a family or reducing the amount of plastic waste our household creates. I remember watching a speech on YouTube of the incredibly talented Tim Minchin addressing a graduating class. In it he encouraged them to teach others, impart their knowledge and help other people learn. This idea has stuck with me and I get a great deal of satisfaction teaching others about how we can make small changes to live a more sustainable life. Bees have become my passion, without them nearly 70% of our crops would not be pollinated as effectively or at all. I want to help save bees from varroa mites – a disease killing hundreds of thousands of colonies every year. Australia is the only country fortunate enough not to have varroa mites yet. Our mono-agriculture techniques are also reducing the amount of variety in the diet of bees. It’s the equivalent of us only eating carrots for every meal. Carrots are good, but you need variety. So I try to teach people about planting bee friendly plants to help give bees more food sources. If everyone in Australia planted a 30cm square pot of bee-friendly plants 13,484,714 extra bees could be fed (quoted from Damian Appleby – The 53 top bee-friendly plants and trees).

It must be said that as a beekeeper you never stop learning and I am constantly looking at how I work my hives and what I could do continue to improve the health of the bees today and in the future. I believe if we all take small steps today to reduce our impact on the environment we can preserve the beauty of nature for our children and future generations.

   Saba. What drove you to start your own business?

B.M. I love working for myself, working from home and the challenge of starting with nothing and trying to create a brand and products that people want to buy and be apart of. Running your own business is hard. There are many obstacles and plenty of easier ways to earn money. For me it’s about passion and drive. I am most passionate and driven when I’m building my own brand. I get a real buzz out of teaching other people and igniting their passion for beekeeping.

Saba. Why this business?

B.M.  My wife bought me a course on how to keep bees as a birthday present and I immediately fell in love with bees. Since then I knew that a beekeeping and education business is where I wanted to spend my working hours. I am not overly interested in being a commercial honey supplier. Nor do I wish to cart truckloads of bees from farm to farm to pollinate crops. These are both big businesses in beekeeping. I wanted to take a different path and focus on inspiring and teaching others about the importance of bees. Educating people on how to keep bees, teaching others to overcome their fear of bees and watching the delight on the face of a person who tastes fresh comb honey for the first time are all amazing experiences I can only enjoy as a result of this business.

Saba. What sort of products/services do you provide?

B.M. We have three distinct product areas.

Firstly we sell products produced within a beehive including honey, honeycomb (honey still in the wax the bees make it in), beeswax and propolis. To complement this section we also sell handmade top bar beehives and bees to populate your new hive.

We also sell educational workshops. We run 2.5 hour and 5 hour beekeeping workshops from our apiary in Murrumbateman, 40 minutes north of Canberra and 3 hours from Sydney. We also run a course in how to make your own reusable beeswax wraps. Finally we offer a course in how to make your own furniture polish using beeswax.

Our final product area is handmade items made from hive by-products, predominantly beeswax. Our current range includes reusable beeswax wraps, beeswax furniture polish, melts to make your own wraps at home and a kit to make your own furniture polish at home.

Saba. For people who don’t know what propolis is like me, do you mind explaining what it is?

B.M. Propolis is made from tree resin (sap). Bees bring it back to the hive and convert it into propolis. They use it as a glue and seal up cracks and holes with in the hive. In warm temperatures it is sticky and it becomes rock solid in the cold. It has anti-bacterial properties and is used in alternative medicines as well as an additive in some foods such as chewing gum. It has started to be used cosmetics as well.

Saba. What is your most popular product / service?

B.M. Our beekeeping workshops are our most popular service, just ahead of our beeswax wrap making course. Honey is our best selling product due to its mainstream popularity. We also regularly sell out of propolis.



Saba. What are your hopes for the business in the future?

B.M. I hope to expand the business to do more workshops in schools. I would love to teach the next generation about the importance of bees. To help them consider the use of chemicals in agriculture and find new and innovative ways we can reduce our reliance on chemicals and improve the way we interact with nature. We will also be investing a lot of time testing flavoured honey varieties this season.

Saba. Tips for anyone who wants to get into a food business?

B.M. Follow your passion. If you are passionate about your food business (or any business for that matter) it makes it much easier to get up everyday and work on improving your business. Align yourself with mentors who can guide you in the right direction. In food businesses regulatory requirements, food safety guidelines and council demands can be a headache, especially if you are new to the industry. There are mentors such as Business Enterprise Centres Australia who offer business-mentoring services to guide you through areas you have little experience in. I used a mentor to help me navigate the red tape of operating a home-based food business to ensure my kitchen set-up met council and NSW Food Authority regulations. I found such a service invaluable. It saved me a lot of time and gave me the assurance that my business was meeting all the food safety standards. Promote yourself. If nobody knows about your business it won’t grow. Instagram is a must for any food-based business these days. Make sure your posts are relevant to your business, you post frequently and tell a story about your business. Follow other food businesses to see how they make their Instagram posts relevant and stand out.

Saba. Where can people find your product / services?

B.M. The best way to purchase our products and services is directly from our website Our courses are run in Murrumbateman New South Wales (approximately 40 minutes north of Canberra and 3 hours south of Sydney). Murrumbateman is a well-known cool climate wine district with many attractions. We have created a guide to Murrumbateman on our website so you can make a day trip or weekend out of your visit to this beautiful area.

You can also purchase our products from markets in and around Canberra. Check our Instagram account @8framehoney for updates on when and where we are attending markets. We are also in the process of finding stockists for our products so watch this space!

Saba. What’s your favourite dish to have with 8 Frame Honey?

B.M.  Honey goes well with all manner of foods – breakfast cereal, tea, cheese, bread and of course on its own. Whilst I am a Weet-Bix and honey guy for breakfast, I do love skewered pepper prawns with lime served with a honey vinaigrette. These quick and delicious treats can be cooked on the pan, grill or BBQ.

Saba. So lastly Ben, do you have any special offers for my readers today?

B.M.  Of course! Enter the code “saba” at the checkout on our website and you will receive 15% of your purchase.

*Discount is valid until the end of October 2018 and not valid with any other offers.


There you go people, a look beyond the brand that is 8 Frame Honey!




BEYOND THE BRAND – 8 Frame Honey




I often buy my duck whole, cause buying them portioned is such a rip off. If I was to buy two duck legs on their own it would almost cost me the same price as buying a whole duck. So why would I?  Why would I indeed. The other advantage of buying the whole duck there is so much you can do with it. As you already know I don’t like to waist food and so I use up every part of the duck. One part of the duck that rarely gets used is the neck, which is a shame. If you do buy a whole duck don’t throw the neck away keep it for making stocks or broths. Today I’m going to show you how to use the skin of the neck to make a casing for a sausage.

Whilst I mad this sausage I rendered down some of the fat from the duck but you don’t have too, you can just use your favourite cooking oil. But if you do want to make your own duck fat all you need to do is add any excess fat trimmings and skin from the duck into a saucepan with a little bit of water and gentle simmer it for an hour or so to render out the oil.

mmm duck fat


Skin of 1 duck neck

200G minced pork

1/2 tbsp. Fish sauce

1/2 tbsp. Ground pepper

1/2 tbsp. Sugar

1/2 tbsp. Turmeric

1/2 tbsp. Hot chilli powder

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 1 Lime

1x Long red chilli

2x Kaffir lime leaves

1x Lemon grass stalk (white part only)

2 inch piece Galangal

3x Large cloves of garlic

1x Medium sized onion


We are serving this dish with my happy duck sauce, follow the link to see how to make it.



You can purchase the duck neck from your butcher but if you have a whole duck like I have today you will first need to remove the neck.

Step 1. Cut off the head of the duck, then cut the neck off the body. Try to cut as far back as you can to ensure you have as much skin as possible. Once you have removed the neck peel off the skin. Then remove the wind pipe and wash  the skin inside out and pat dry.

Step 2. Next chop up your onion, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, long chilli and lime leaf into small chuck and place in a food processor and wiz into a thick paste.


Step 3. In a large mixing bowl add your pork and all the other ingredients. Add the freshly processed paste and mix everything well to combine.

Step 4. Take a piece of kitchen twine and tie the smaller end of the duck skin closed.

Step 5. Stuff the skin with the stuffing. I used a funnel for this but it’s not necessary you can do this with out it. fill the skin with as much stuffing as you can but leave enough skin at the end as so you can tie it off.

Step 6. Take a piece of kitchen twine and tie the open end of the duck skin. Take a sharp knife and trim off any excess skin from each end for a nice appearance.


Step 7. Wrap the sausage in cling wrap, at least four layers, and tie off the ends the same way as you did the sausage its self. Now place in the refrigerator to rest. I left mine over night as I wasn’t planning on eating it to the next day. But an hour or two is fine.

Step 8. Place the sausage cling wrap and all into a medium high simmering pot of water and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 9. Remove the sausage from the pot, remove the cling wrap and pat dry.

Step 10. Add the sausage to a hot frying pan with some oil (I used duck fat) and sear off to its well browned all over.

Another option is you could also bake this in the oven for 15 minutes.


That’s it people, my spicy pork filled duck neck sausage.

I hope you have a quack at making it!!

Spicy Pork Filled Duck Neck Sausage




I often make soy milk at home, it’s cheap and easy to do and only needs 2 ingredients to do. Soy beans and water. Yep that’s it. However making soy milk produces a lot of byproduct or waist. One thing I’m not a big fan of is wasting food.  The byproduct I speak of here is the pulp that is left over after the soy beans have been ground up and strained. This pulp is called Okara. At first glance it doesn’t look like much and one would be forgiven if they were to throw it away. But many inventive people have come up with all sorts of clever dishes to use this product in from biscuits to burger patties and so on. The great thing about Okara is that is packed full of protein, fiber and all sorts of beneficial minerals. So why not use it? Why not indeed!

Today I’m going to show you how to turn it into a seasoning you can add to your rice for an extra kick. Sprinkle it on your noodles for some texture the possibilities are endless


straining the soy milk


Shopping list

1 Tablespoon Rice Bran Oil

1 – ½. Cups of Okara

2  Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

2  Tablespoons of Mirin

1 Tablespoon White Sesame Seeds

1 Tablespoon Black Sesame Seeds

½ Tablespoon Garlic Powder

½ Tablespoon Black Pepper

1 Tablespoon Ground Hot Chilli  Powder

(add more or less depending on how hot you like it)

½ Sheet of shredded Nori


Step 1.

Add your Okara into a large frying pan over high with the oil and fry until the Oraka has lost all it moisture and becomes golden in colour. This will take around 10 to 15mintues. During this time keep stirring and moving the Okara around as to ensure you don’t burn it and it is evenly browned.

Step 2

Add the soy sauce and mirin and give it good stir to combine ensure all the okara is covered. Keep stirring around to the soy/mirin has been absorbed (about 2 minutes)

Step 3

Add in both the white and the black sesame seeds and give the pan a good toss and stir for about 2 minutes.

Step 4.

Add the garlic powder and give the pan a good toss to combine

Step 5.

Add the chilli powder and give the pan a good toss to combine and fry for another 2 minutes.

Step 6.

Add the shredded nori and give the pan a good toss to combine and fry for another 2 minutes.


How easy was that!!

There it is you just made yours self a spicy vegan okara seasoning powder.



Home Made Soy Milk From Scratch


When I came to Australia some 40 odd years ago. My family ended up in a little rural Victorian town. It was a little farming community with a rich history in dairy.  A very different setting to the modern-day Melbourne in which I live today. I have very fond memories of my childhood there. I remember riding up the hill with my brothers on our chopper style bmx bikes to the old caravan park where the old abandoned swimming pool was. It had been overgrown by nature and had become more like a creek. We would go there to catch yabbies. We would go rabbit hunting with our pet ferrets. Collect fresh eggs from the chickens and pick seasonal fruits all the time. It was a simple and joyful childhood. The summers use to last forever and we never ran out of things to do.

Unlike today’s world of 24/7 hour supermarkets, we only had 1 local supermarket. I think it was called SSW or Tucker bag, I can’t really recall now, it was owned and operated by a local and so was the local hardware store. When my dad went for his driver’s licence the local police officer just followed him as he drove around a few streets and that was test. There was only one car dealership and one butcher shop. Back in those days, the butcher did not sell things like ham hocks, chicken thighs, lamb shanks or even pork belly. Lamb shanks where taken for dog food. Now those are the most expensive cuts of meat. Go figure hey!

So as you can imagine, trying to find Asian staples and food was pretty much a zero chance. My parents grew just about all the Asian greens we ate, Mum use to make almost everything from scratch. This was very time and labor intensive but it was a necessity for my family.  These days living in Melbourne mum no longer needs to cook from scratch but I learnt a valuable lesson from those years seeing where my food came from. I’ve always made it a point to learn to cook whatever I eat from starch. I don’t do this out of necessity but for the reason of knowing where my food comes from and just in case life takes me to a place where certain foods are not readily available to me. So today I thought I would show you how to make soy milk from scratch.

First off we are going to need some soybeans. We are using dried soybeans which are readily available in most supermarkets or health stores these day. If you have a local Asian grocer near you, they will have it for sure or you can order them online. They are super cheap and last for just about ever and we can make so many things with them. I recommend if you can get them to use organic beans.

Step 1. Soak The Soy Beans

I’m using 2 cups of soybeans to which I’m soaking them in 1 litre of cold water. Leave the beans to soak for about 8 hours.

After 8 hours the soybeans should have increased to about 3 times their original size


Step 2. Remove The Skin From The Soy Beans

Using your fingers gently massage the beans to loosen off the skins from the beans. Skim off the skins from the top of the water and drain and pick out and left over skins. You will need to repeat this step a few times to remove all the skins.

Step 3. Rinse and Clean The Soy Beans

Now that all the skins are removed give the soy beans a good rinse and drain.

Step 4. Time To Turn Beans To Milk

Add one cup of your cleaned soy beans and 600mls of clean fresh water to a blender. Blend until smooth.

 Step 5. Time To Cook The Milk

Pour the content of the blender into a pot. Over a medium high heat bring the pot to a boil, don’t walk away from it as it will have a tendency to boil over. If it does start to boil over remove it from the heat and keep stirring. Once the milk has come to a boil turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stirring occasionally.


Skim off any film that form on the top of milk. This film that forms on the top is called Yuba and is widely eaten in many Japanese and Chinese dishes. I like to keep it and add it to my noodle soups.  You can dry it out and store it away. There is so much you can do with it.

Now turn off the heat and allow the milk cool down enough to handle.

Step 6. Strain The Milk

Cover a strainer with some cheese cloth and pour the cooled milk and all the pulp from the pot over into a large bowl. Ring out all the liquid you can as this is your finished milk.

The leftover pulp in the cheese cloth is call Okara. Don’t throw this away. It is a super food. Full of protein, fiber and other minerals. It can be used in many recipes. It actually taste pretty bland but I like using it to add texture and all the above health benefits. It does absorb flavors really well, so don’t tell Shorty Kun but I do sneak this stuff into some of his meals.

Step 7. Leave The Milk to Cool


Now you have made your fresh soy milk allow it to cool completely.

Step 8. Pour into a bottle

Finial step now, pour your freshly cooled soy milk into a bottle or air tight container. I like to use a small strainer and a funnel to do this as to ensure we remove any last yuba remains and don’t spill the milk of course.

There you have it peoples fresh home made soy milk from scratch.  Now this soy milk won’t taste like a store bought soy milk as it taste as real soy milk taste, free from any artificial flavors, colours and sweeteners.

If you wish to sweeten it you can but I like it just the way it is.


If you would like to watch my full video tutorial follow the link over to Lion Brand Rice to find it


Home Made Soy Milk From Scratch


















Welcome to my new segment.


 Where I will sit down and chat with business leaders in the food industry to find out more about the people that make these companies and brands tick. Hopefully we can get some insight into what makes their companies so great and gain a few helpful tips along the way. So let’s get things kicked off with the company behind my favourite rice brand!



Today I sit down for a chat with Peter Tan, director of BKK Australia to take a look at the man beyond the brand.


Saba. Tell me a bit about yourself Peter and your background?

P.T. My name is Peter Tan and I was born and raised in Sydney Australia. I spent much of my education and career in science, with my last job working at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute however I got a bit disillusioned with the daily grind and entered the family (and food!) business about five years ago.

BKK Head office in Sydney


Saba. Why a food business?

P.T. A lot of this journey has to do with food. All I wanted as a kid was McDonald’s and KFC but as I experienced more of the world and ate more widely, the more I realised that the things that people eat is tied up in their environment and traditions. Food is a great catalyst to find a human nature, culture and history.

Other companies may do team building exercises like paintball or golf, but the aunties in the office will cook big pots of great food, fire up some gas stoves and lay out some amazing spreads in our meeting rooms.


Saba. What motivates you Peter?

P.T. Australia is a multicultural society but I feel that our pockets of culture are still segregated. Despite the prevalence of Asian Australians, there is a severe lack of representation of the people and culture in the mainstream media. Nowadays we are able to reach people through the internet with videos, podcasts or just simple blogs and it would be great to show that there’s more to Thai food than just red, curry, green, curry & padthai. Or that Vietnamese food is not just Phở and Bánh mì. Wouldn’t it be awesome if your Aussie BBQ became synonymous with Gai Yang or Bún Thịt Nướng? I want your average person on the street to know about Foi Thong or Bún Riêu. And also to know how to make it

Saba. Bún Riêu  yummy!!

Crab Bún Riêu made by yours truly.



Saba. Tell me a bit about your business?

P.T. The business started out as a supermarket in the Western suburbs of Sydney serving the Asian communities there. Over time there was a demand for genuine Thai Jasmine rice and as a result the business started an import branch. This import branch was called “BKK Australia” and was the first company to import Thai Jasmine Rice “Lion Brand” which is of course our flagship brand. However over time our products diversified and BKK Australia product range now boast over a 1000 Asian foods. Every product is tasted and tested by our staff which makes for interesting conversations at the office. Our staff are particular and food obsessed and there’ll often be arguments which are the best or most authentic products that we bring in. Other companies may do team building exercises like paintball or golf, but the aunties in the office will cook big pots of great food, fire up some gas stoves and lay out some amazing spreads in our meeting rooms. One of my favourite things is to come back to my desk sometimes to find a surprise noodle bowl at my computer.

Always a nice surprise to find a bowl of noodles on the desk!


Saba. What sort of products/services do you provide?

P.T. We are an import and distributor of fine Asian food products distributing to retailers nationally.

Maesri Curry Paste


Saba. What are your most popular products / services?

Lion Brand Jasmin Rice

Lion Brand Glutinous Rice

P.T. Of course Lion Brand Thai Jasmine rice is our number one seller.

But we also sell glutinous rice, broken rice, rice paper and dried rice noodles

 (bún tươi is particularly good) under the Lion Brand umbrella.

Besides that we are also exclusive distributors of Maesri Curry Pastes which are very popular and widely available. You can find them in Woolworths nationally. This is a favourite of mine and I cook with the green curry paste almost every week.

Lion Brand Rice Paper


Saba. What are your hopes for the business in the future?

P.T. Of course we wish to see our business grow and expand. But more than that, I want Lion Brand to represent a point where people can connect and learn more about Asian food and culture in Australia

Saba. Where can people find your product/services?

P.T. The majority of our products can easily be found in your local Asian grocery and some select brands in major national chains (Woolworths, Aldi, Costco).

For businesses looking for a specialist Asian wholesale food supplier they can contact our office by phone on +61296320072 or email us at

Made with Lion Brand bún tươi (dried rice noodles)


Saba.  Any special offers for my readers today?

P.T. The first five readers to comment on your next blog posts at the

Lion Brand Blog

and leave the hashtag #SheepXLion will receive a free gift pack!

(*open to Australian residents only, remember to include email address)


There you go peoples! A look beyond the brand that is Lion Brand Rice.

My next post on Lion Brand Blog will be on 14.09.18 so make sure you get over there and have a read and leave a comment for your chance at receiving one of those five gift packs.

Lion Brand Blog

To see the full range of BBK products head over to their website

You can also find them on Instagram @bkk_Australia  or Facebook @BKKAus


BEYOND THE BRAND – Lion Brand Rice



I’m not going to share the recipe for this dish today as I will share it with you on a later post. Sorry guys.

However I will show you how to make the sauce as we will need for an upcoming post.

What I really wanted to do today was share with you a story, a very true story.

So sit back and let me tell you the tale about a crying tiger who turned into a happy duck.

 Quite awhile ago I went out to dinner and got a bit drunk. Ok a lot drunk. But that’s not the point here.

Anyway during dinner I ordered a dish called Crying Tiger. I have had this dish many times before and I’m quite familiar with it. However the one at this place was totally awesome.

This version used wagyu beef and had a salsa on top of it. Not your average crying tiger that’s for sure.

Anyway the next morning when I was no longer drunk I got a thinking why the hell do they call that dish crying tiger? Yes these are the hard questions I ask my self. So for the life of me I couldn’t work it out.

Then it struck me, like a lighting bolt. That’s it!!

It’s cause the tiger had no spice in it life. So I thought Duck it!!! I’m going to make my own version and spice it up. With chilli of course and it not going to be crying anymore cause its  going to happy.

I didn’t have any wagyu lying around, who the duck does..

So I went Duck instead, and that’s how a Crying Tiger became a Happy Duck 😊😊😊


Lets gets saucy yes? LETS!!!


1 serving

This is how I made it

First off I got some palm sugar.

About 2 teaspoons.

I grated the palm sugar into a mixing bowl.

Next I added about 2 teaspoons of tamarind paste.

 Next added some fish sauce, about 2 teaspoons.

Then hot chilli powder, I used 2 teaspoons.

I grabbed myself a shallot and dice it fine

I only used half and added it to the bowl

Then I chopped up some herbs. I used 2 sprigs of coriander, 1 sprig of rice patty herb, 2 saw tooth coriander leaves and 1 sprig of spring onion. I used the stems and all.

Then added it to the bowl

Next I got myself a nice juicy lime

Grated the zest into the bowl

Then I finished off by squeezing the juice of the lime in.

I later added some fresh chilli as I just wanted a bit more heat but to tell you truth it didn’t really need it but I wanted it to be spicy!

That’s it peoples, that’s how I made my happy duck sauce.

I’ve got a interesting dish in mind coming up that I’ve never made before, and I plan to service it with this sauce so stay tuned!


How a crying tiger became a happy duck.

Pork Belly Yakitori with only 4 ingredients

I think meat taste better when its on a stick, don’t ask me why I just do. Especially if its getting grilled over a BBQ.  In todays post I’m going to show you how to make a super simple Japanese yakitori. This recipe is so simple that it only has 4 ingredients. That’s if you don’t include the beer that accompanies it haha.



750G. Pork Belly

100mls. Soy Sauce

100mls. Mirin

2.5 tbsp. Sugar

Told you there was only 4 ingredients


Step 1. Add the soy sauce,  mirin, and sugar into a large bowl and mix well to all  the sugar has dissolved.

Step 2. Remove the skin from the pork belly and dice into 1 inched cubes

Step 3. Add the diced pork belly to the bowl then mix well. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for an hour.

Step 4.  Time to skewer these bad boys.

note. if using wooden skeweres ensure you soak them first for at least half an hour

When skewering try to keep the shape and size as even as possible. This will ensure even cooking later on.

Step 5. Take the left over marinate and pour into a sauce pan. Place onto a medium heat and let reduce to a thick sauce. This should take about 10 minutes.

Now the best bit. Time to cook these bad boys and enjoy the aroma. I highly recommend you cook these over a charcoal BBQ but if you don’t have one you can do this on a grill pan or in the oven.

Step 6. Place the skewers onto the BBQ. A medium heat is ideal and turn frequently to stop the sugar in the marinate from burning.

If there are any left over marinate juices glaze them over the skewers whilst they are cooking.

Once your skewers are cooked right through remove them from the heat allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.

To serve them place them on a plate and drizzle over with the reduced sauce, crack a beer and enjoy!

There you go peoples Pork Belly Yakitori with only 4 ingredients.

How easy was that?

Pork Belly Yakitori with only 4 ingredients


How to make chilli flakes from scratch

Any one who follows my blog will know I’m a big chilli lover. It’s in just about everything I eat. I even have it on my eggs at breakfast time! It doesn’t have to be super hot, but I need to know its there. So with the amount of chilli I eat I always need to have them on hand at any given time. So naturally I grow them at home.  One healthy tree can produce so much fruit that it’s almost impossible for me to eat them all. So I need to come up with all sorts of crafty ideas to use them up. Some I will freeze, others I make into hot sauces and the list goes on. But the one thing I love doing the most is turning them into chilli flakes. Its so easy to do and they last for just about ever! So in todays post I’m going to show you how my chillies go from the fresh fruit on the tree to dried out chilli flakes.

Lets get started? Lets!

Step 1. This is so easy, just pick the chillies from the tree then wash and dry them.

 Now there are many ways to dry out your chillis, in a oven,  or a dehydrator,   you can string them up and so on. But the most basic and easy way is the good old fashioned way we are going to do today.

Step 2. Lay the chillies out in a single layer in a large strainer or wire rack so that air can move freely around the chillies and leave to dry in a warm sunny spot. If you leave them to dry inside make sure the room is well ventilated.  I like to give them a shake around ever now and then as so they all dry out evenly. The drying process will vary depending on the weather conditions. But they should be ready in a week or so, but do leave them to they are fully dehydrated.

I find only smaller chillies lend them self to drying much more then larger ones, so leave them for eating fresh or making hot sauces


Step 3. Now that your chillies are fully dehydrated remove the stems and discard (I just throw them back in the garden) and place the chillies into a food processor. Now give the chillies a good wiz to you reach your desired flake size. Be sure to keep your face well away from the food processor as any fumes will surely burn your eyes.

That’s it peoples, you just made your very own chilli flakes. How easy was that?  To store the chilli flake place them in an air tight jar and use them when ever you want!


How to make chilli flakes from scratch

Stir-Fried / Vietnamese beef with chayote. su su xào thịt bò

I love cooking and knowing exactly what’s in my food. But like most people I do work a full time job. So there are days where I just can’t be bothered spending to much time in the kitchen. So on days like that a quick stir fry served with some rice is always a winner for me.




Shopping list

For the marinade

250 grams, Sliced beef

1,  Sliced red onion

1  Tablespoons, soy sauce

1  Tablespoons, sugar

3, Cloves of garlic diced

1 Tablespoon, chilli paste

½ Tablespoon Black Pepper

A few drops of sesame oil

Other ingredients

1 Tablespoon cooking oil

 1, large chayote peeled and thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon, soy sauce

2 Tablespoons, water

Cracked pepper to taste

Lets get cooking hey? Lets

Step 1.  Add all your marinade ingredients into a bowl and mix to coat all the beef well.

Cover and set aside for at least 20 minutes.

Step 2. Heat your wok on high to it gets really hot and add the cooking oil. Add your beef and stir fry for 2 minutes just to seal the meat. Remove from the wok and set aside.

(For best results do this in 2 small batches)

Step 3. Add your chayote and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Step 4. Add the water and cover the wok with a lid, this will allow the chayote to steam. Leave for 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 5. Remove the lid and give everything a quick toss. Now add back your meat and stir-fry for another 2 minutes

Step 6. Transfer to a serving dish and crack some black pepper over the top.

How easy was that!

 Vietnamese stir-fried beef with chayote

su su xào thịt bò

Game Day Prawn Platter

I’m a big fan of sports, more so watching then playing it hihi. Of late I’ve been spoiled for choice. World Cup soccer, Wimbledon tennis, golf, football, motorsports. You name it and I’ll watch it. So in today’s post I thought I would show you 3 really simple game day snacks you can prepare in next to no time and with very few ingredients. So the star of these 3 game day snacks will be fresh prawns and a can of Maesri curry paste. No we are not making a prawn curry and Yes, you don’t just have to make a curry from a curry paste.


Game Day Prawn Platter


Dish 1. Prawn Spring Rolls and Curry Sauce

Dish 2. Butterflied Prawns

Dish 3. Crispy Prawn Balls

If you want the full recipe of my game day prawn platter  head over to to find my blog post and video.




Vietnamese Grilled Pork Marinade

For 1Kg of meat




4 Lemongrass stem, white part only, smashed and roughly chopped  (80g)

 1  Large brown onion, roughly chopped

5 Cloves of garlic, minced

 1 tablespoon of ground chilli paste  (or 2 fresh chillies minced)

 ½ tablespoon of fish sauce 

½ tablespoon of Soy sauce

1 tablespoon of Oyster sauce

1 tablespoon of Sugar

1/2 tablespoon of Honey

 1 teaspoon Ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Sesame oil




As this is a marinade you want the end result to be more liquid and not like a paste, so I find this works better in a food processor, but if you’re a purist feel free to do it in a mortar and pestle.


Place the lemongrass in the food processor and wiz to it become quite fine and no large chunks are left. 

 Now add the Onion, Garlic.  Give it a few pulses and then wiz it to all the ingredients become a thick paste and are all incorporated.

 Now add the rest of the ingredients and wiz to all the ingredients are well combined and the pastes starts to becomes a thick liquid. 

Now its ready to marinate your favourite cut of pork with.



I find that for best results marinate your pork for at least 4 hours but overnight is best.



Vietnamese grilled pork marinade

Spring Onion & Chilli Pancakes (Scallion Pancakes)

Spring Onion & Chilli Pancakes


You know what I really love, its spring onions.  I also love pancakes. So naturally I love spring onion pancakes!! oh for those of you that don’t live down under or are not sure what a spring onion is. You might call it a green onion or a scallion. 

A spring onion pancake is a savoury pancake that originated in China and is know as (Congyoubing). Unlike a western style pancake that is make with batter this pancake is made from a dough.  These pancakes are delicious eaten on there own, with a dipping sauce such as soy, chili and vinegar. But I also love to eat mine as part of a meal as you would with bread. You can have them on the side, use them as a roll. The possibility’s are endless. In Today’s recipe I’m going to spice things up a bit because I love my chilli.

So lets get to it hey?





1 Cup plain flour

1/2 Cup warm water

1/2 a bunch of spring onion

1 long red chilli

Sesame oil for brushing

Salt to season


Step 1. Make the dough

 Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl along with a big pinch of salt

Add the water and mix to a dough has formed

Remove from bowl and kneed to the dough becomes smooth and elastic

Roll into a ball and add back to bowl

Cover bowl with a damp towel and allow the dough to rest for 1/2 an hour

Step 2. Prepare Spring Onion & Chilli

Finely chop the spring onion and chilli

Step 3. Lets roll some dough


Roll the dough out to fat log shape and cut into 3 equal size parts and roll into balls

Dust your working surface with flour

place your first dough ball down and using a rolling pin roll it out as thin as possible

Brush the top of the dough with some sesame oil

Sprinkle over an even layer of spring onion and chilli

Starting from one end roll the dough into a tight log

Now coil the dough into a snail shape

Place back in bow and cover with damp towel and let rest of 15 minutes

Repeat with remaining 2 other dough balls


Step 4. Make the pancakes

Dust your working surface with flour

Using the palm of your hand flatten the coil out to make a rough circle

Now with your rolling pin, roll the dough out to make an 8inch pancake you may want to flip it and roll it once or twice

Repeat for the other 2 coils.

Step 5. Frying the pancakes

Add a third of your cooking oil to a fry pan

Place one pancake in at a time and fry on medium heat for 3 minutes on each side


Serve and Enjoy !!



The Rice Dish! Crispy Rice Balls

Ok, how about we make some rice balls?   What rice balls?  We have all seen boring rice balls before. I hear you say…..

Don’t worry, these little bad boys are going to be super crispy on the outside and soft in the middle and explode with Thai red curry flavour goodness!




For me and just about every other person of South East Asian descent. Rice is life!  I know there wouldn’t be too many days where I don’t eat something that contains rice in it. From rice noodles to rice crepes even rice sweets and more. It is such a diverse ingredient and the most important staple in my house. I never run out of rice!

So today I’m back on blog posting again and I’m focusing on that little white grain and I  make something that really makes rice shine!

Ok, how about we make some rice balls?   What rice balls?  We have all seen boring rice balls before. I hear you say…..

Don’t worry, these little bad boys are going to be super crispy on the outside and soft in the middle and explode with Thai red curry flavour goodness!

Now I got you interested yes?

Not only are these going to be super delicious and crispy, they take hardly any time to make.

In the post I’m going to use rice paper in some different ways that you may not have thought of before, I even make an edible rice plate!

So follow the below link over to lion Brand Rice to check out my post  and recipe!!







How to cook rice on the stove


I know some of you may laugh when you see this post. For the most part I’m sure it’s a very simple task, but for the novis cook it can be quite the challenge to get right.  But I kid you not. I remember a time when I was a teenager and a dear friend of mine asked me a pretty straight forward question.

How to cook rice?

Our conversation went like this.

Him. Saba, how do I cook rice?

Me.  Mate, that’s easy, wash the rice grains, add water and turn the rice cooker on.

Him.  But Saba I don’t have a rice cooker.

Me.  Oh.

I didn’t know what to say as I had never cooked rice without a rice cooker before. So that day we both went  back to my house and I asked my mother to teach us how to cook rice without a rice cooker.  In this day and age, we have all these fancy appliances and gismos to help us in the kitchen, some of which are great! And other of which are just there to clutter our kitchen. Sometime I think we need to take a step back and learn things the good old fashion way. That’s why from that day I made it a point, whenever I ate and loved something I would learn how to cook it from scratch.   You just don’t know where you will end up in life and if you will be able to purchase the foods you love there, hey you might even get caught out without a rice cooker too.


For this recipe, we will be cooking short grain rice, but if you want to cook long grain just change the rice to water ratio to 1 cup of rice and 1.5 Cups of water.



1 Cup  Short grain rice

1 1/4 Cups Water


In a strainer, place the rice grains and rinse under running water. Move your fingers through the grains to ensure they are all getting washed. Continue this to the water runs clear.

Leave rice aside for 5 minutes to dry a bit.

To a small sauce pan add your washed rice grains and cover with the water

Bring to a boil uncovered over a med-high heat. Stir a few times to loosen the bottom

Turn to low and simmer covered for 12 mins. It’s important not to lift the lid and peak during this time.

Now turn off the heat,  and then let rest it for another 10 mins

Fluff the rice up with a fork.

That’s it folks. Saba’s old fashion way to cook rice.

Now serve and enjoy!!

Cheesy Chicken Wings

Who doesn’t like a oozy cheesy meal, and who doesn’t like chicken wings right?

I for one love both!

The  AFL football season has just started here. So in celebration I’m going show you how to make a yummy cheesy game day snack. It’s a little spicy, very delicious and very cheesy!

It’s so easy to make and will sure be a crowed pleaser!


So for this dish you will first need to make my

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Marinade

form my last  post.


The Shopping List

Saba’s  Marinade

1.KG Chicken Wings

150 grams shredded mozzarella cheese

a few shavings of parmesan cheese

Chilli for garnishing

Chives for garnishing


Lets get cooking hey… LETS!!

Cut your wings in half by cutting through the joint between the drum stick and the wingette.

Next marinate the wings in Saba’s Marinade and let marinating for at least 4 hours.

Next place the wings on a baking tray in even single layer.

Now bake in a 180c oven and to golden brown and cooked through.

Next add an even layer of the mozzarella to a sizzle plate and set on a medium heat.

(you can use a normal pan if you don’t have a sizzle plate)

Now add your chicken to the pan

Sprinkle over some more mozzarella and some shavings of parmesan

cook until the cheese is melted and oozy

Now garnish with the chives and chilli

Add a wedge of lime and crack open a beer and enjoy the game!!

How easy is that?

 Cheesy Chicken Wings




Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Marinade

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Marinade

For 1Kg of meat


I’ve always been a big fan of lemongrass in chicken.  As a kid my dad would make my brothers and I a lemongrass and crispy chicken wing dish. They were very popular and with limited supply on offer we would devour as many of these wings as we could get our hands on.

So whenever I eat any kind of chicken with lemongrass in it, I think of my childhood.

My father would make his chicken wings quite salty as back then we were quite poor and being salty it would result in us eating a smaller amount of chicken and a lot more rice.

 In my younger days I would try to replicate my father’s recipes. But as the years have gone on, my pallet has change and I have swung from one of loving salty and savoury taste to loving sour and zesty flavours. So as such most of my recipes have evolved alongside my pallet.

Chicken and citrus are like a match made in heaven, and in my recipe you will find many ingredients pushing the zesty citrus flavour I love.

So it’s fair to say my recipe has moved a fair way from that of my father’s traditional recipe, but I believe you will find it to be a tantalising mix none the less.


4 Lemongrass stem, white part only, smashed and roughly chopped

 1 Red onion, roughly chopped

 2 Spring onions, white part only, roughly chopped (save the leaves for garnish)

 2 Coriander root and stems washed and roughly chopped (save the leaves for garnish)

 4 Cloves of garlic, minced

 1 Thumb size knob of  galangal minced (30g)

 4 Kaffir Lime leaves stems removed and roughly torn

The zest and juice of one lime

 ½ tablespoon of ground chilli paste  (or 2 fresh chillies minced)

 1 tablespoon of fish sauce

 2 tablespoon of oyster sauce

1 tablespoon of sugar

 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sesame oil




As this is a marinade you want the end result to be more liquid and not like a paste, so I find this works better in a food processor, but if you’re a purist feel free to do it in a mortar and pestle.


Place the lemongrass in the food processor and wiz to it become quite fine and no large chunks are left. 


 Now add the Onion, Spring Onion, Coriander, Garlic, Galangal and lime leaves.  Give it a few pulses and then wiz it to all the ingredients become a thick paste and are all incorporated.

 Now add the rest of the ingredients and wiz to all the ingredients are well combined and the pastes starts to becomes a thick liquid. 

Now its ready to marinate your favourite cut of chicken with.



I find that for best results marinate your chicken for at least 4 hours but overnight is best.



Steamed scallops with sweet and spicy fish sauce


I love eating seafood, but funny thing I don’t actually eat it that often. I think the reason being is that I only ever want to eat if I know its super fresh. Another reason maybe cause its so darn expensive. But today I’m eating it, yep I’m eating seafood, and it’s scallops to be exact. Now the key to a good seafood dish is not to do to much with it. Seafood is delicate and we don’t want to lose that flavour. But there is also one other rule you need to stick to and this rule is the golden rule.





Steamed scallops with sweet and spicy fish sauce



6 fresh scallops in shell

5 table spoons warm water

1 table spoon white caster sugar

1 table spoon freshly squeezed  lime juice

1 table spoon Vietnamese fish sauce

2 bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped

1 small shallot finely diced

6 chive leaves finely chopped

1 table spoon coriander leaves picked



In a small bowl add the sugar and pour the water over and stir until dissolved. Now add the fish sauce and lime. This dressing needs to be well balanced so you will need to test and adjust the sweet, sour and saltiness of it to suit your taste. Now add half the chilli and set aside to let the flavours develop.

Now open, remove the scallop from the shell

Clean the scallop and set aside

We will use the bottom half of the scallop shell to steam and  as a our serving plate so give a good clean too.

Place scallops on the shell in a single layer in a bamboo steamer baskets. Top each scallop with 2 to 3 teaspoons of the dressing mixture. Place the bamboo steamer basket over a wok of simmering water, cover with lid and steam scallops for 4 to 5 minutes or until the scallop has turned opaque

Remove the scallops from the steamer and place on serving dish.

Garnish the scallops with the chives, coriander leaves, shallot and chilli.


Serve immediately and Enjoy !!



Yum Yum Noodle Chicken Burger

Yum Yum Noodle Chicken Burger

Do you ever get those times when like you played golf all day and just feel like some fast food. Well I felt like that tonight. On the way home I was thinking I might just grab a Zinger burger from KFC. But being Asian, instant noodles is our answer to fast food.

Oh so confusing what to do, what to do!!

Anyway I had a packet of YumYum spicy Thai grilled chicken flavour instant noodles in the pantry and some chicken in the fridge. Well to cut a long story short. I had one of those 💡 moments and what do you know I killed 2 birds with the one stone. Noodle and burger craving settled.

Oh actually it was only one bird killed.

Just the chicken!


Here is a quick description and video on what I did.




  1. Rub the chicken fillet in the seasoning that came with noodles on it.
  2. Rub it in flour
  3. Dip in egg milk mixture
  4. Crumb in the crushed noodles
  5. Deep fry that bad boy to golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Toast Buns
  7. Add Sriracha
  8. Add kewpie mayonnaise
  9. Add cos lettuce
  10. Add the burger patty
  11. Top with cheese
  12. Add a sunny side up egg



Now lets eat that bad boy  😎

That’s my YumYum Noodle Chicken Burger Folks

Edible Chilli Flower Blossom Garnish


Chilli Flower Blossom




Having a beautiful garnish can lift the look of your dish from simple to down right mouth watering. I find using colourful and unique shapes can really make the food on the plate pop. And having an edible garnish such as a chilli flower blossom ticks all the right boxes. As this is such an easy to make garnish, that adds such an impact to the plate. You will find that I use it quite often. Also the fact that I love chilli is an added bonus too. Best of all its so easy to make and you won’t need any special tools. All you need is a very sharp thin knife. For best results I recommend using a box cutter. The only other thing you will need is a bowl of water.

Lets get this show on the road hey? LETS!!


1.Chilli Pepper  (I’m using a large birds eye chill )

1. Cup of cold water in a bowl



Starting from the top, just below the stem of the chilli. Slice down lengthwise to split it in half. (Ensure you do not cut through the stem at the top as this will hold your flower together)


Turn the chilli around 90 Degrees and repeat the first step again


You should now have 4 petals

(if you would like to remove the seeds and membrane now is the time to do so. I prefer to keep them in as it will give you flower a more realistic look)

At this stage, split each of the 4 petals in half again so you end up with 8 petals


Now place the chilli in the water and let sit for about 20mins and watch it blossom


There it is peoples an Edible Chilli Flower Blossom Garnish   




Vietnamese Green Mango Salad, Gỏi Xoài Xanh


Chúc Mừng Năm Mới



Happy New Year everyone!! So I had planned to do a traditional Vietnamese New Year dish for todays post, but I’ve been so busy doing work on the lion brand rice blog posts that I didn’t get time to do one. Sorry about, I’ll have to make up for it next year.

Vietnamese Green Mango Salad

I love making Gỏi  (Vietnamese salads) especially in summer.  I was at the local Vietnamese grocery store the other day and came across some beautiful green mangos and my mouth started to water. So I picked a couple up as I decided I will make Gỏi Xoài Xanh

(green mango salad).

Green Mango Salad, is sweet, sour, savoury and spicy with many layers of textures. Every mouthful leaves your taste buds singing for more !!

I’ve kept this recipe simple and just used what I had handy in the fridge.  You could add some poached prawns or pork to this dish. , I also would usually put fried shallots in it, but I ran out and was to lazy too fry some up. But you can add them to yours if you like

Gỏi Xoài Xanh

simple & delicious vietnamese green mango salad

Gỏi Xoài Xanh

When picking your Mango be sure to a pick firm green unrippen mango. A ripen mango will be to sweet and soft and will not work for this dish. We are looking for a crunchy tart mango.

You can use any herbs you like, there are no golden rules, if you like it, you add it.



1. green mango

1. red onion

1. birds eye chilli

2 tablespoons dried prawns

1.5 tablespoons crushed peanuts

1/2 cup picked Vietnamese herbs

(I used mint, perilla & Vietnamese mint)

 nuoc cham  to dress


Cover the prawns with warm water and let sit for 20 min to soften

Peel and julienne the mango

Peel and thinly slice the onion

Thinly slice the chilli (de-seed it if you don’t want the heat)

Once the prawns are soft, rinse under cold water to clean, then roughly chop.

In a large bowl add the green mango, onion and prawns then mix well

Now tear the herbs over the bowl then drizzle in nuoc cham to taste and toss again

Transfer the salad to a serving plate and garnish with peanuts and chilli


There you have it lady’s & gentlemen, Saba’s

Simple Vietnamese green mango salad

Serve and enjoy !!!


District 3429

I visit District 3429


So this week I was out in Sunbury, a township 40km North West of Melbourne. Whilst I was there I dropped in to check out District 3429 a modern Vietnamese restaurant.

I was lucky enough to be granted all access to the entire restaurant and got to see everything from the store rooms, to the kitchen and front of house. It was an awesome day and was fascinating to see the workings of the restaurant from the other side.

From the outside the restaurants stands out from all the other stores along the street, with its outdoor seating area, distinct red and black colour scheme and very lovable Vietnamese drink cart. It’s a great looking shop front and feels very inviting.

I arrived on a Sunday and assumed it would be very quiet however to my surprise it was buzzing with people and sounds. This is a very happening place, and you get the sense straight away that you’re going to be in for a good time. And that’s exactly what happened!

I was greeted upon entering by the lovely Ami Tran who is the brainchild behind the District group and of course District 3429. Ami is a passionate chef, confident business woman and just one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. I sat down with Ami for a chat and discovered, she is passionate about people, as an example of this is when she threw out a life line to some young unemployed workers with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues. She believes that these guys bring a positive vibe that the customers respond to well. She is also passionate about the produce too and started an initiative, The Fat Monk which is her vegan plant based menu. The menu seeks to use only the freshest, locally sourced produce to create modern clean Vietnamese inspired dishes. Customer can indulge without feeling guilty or left out with this menu!


All this passion reflects in the presentation of the restaurant where you can see no expense was left spared.

The décor is hip and funky, from the neon lights to the hard wood tables and Asian lanterns. It’s a well thought out design with many nods to the Vietnamese heritage of the cuisine.

The kitchen area is very modern and well equipped. With a range hood that stretches almost the entire length of the kitchen and stainless steel from head to toe. Massive walk in fridge, but I loved the huge wok burners the most. There was even an area dedicated to making rice paper rolls. The purpose built steamer can fit more bamboo baskets than a panda could eat. For a foodie like me it’s like being in heaven!

Now I love me a good beer, and the fridges at District 3429 have no shortage of choice, from your locals to my favourite Vietnamese beer 333. For those of you who prefer a drop of the old Vino, they have a whole wall of the stuff, and I literally mean a wall. I’ve dubbed it

“the great wall of vino”

So anyways, enough of the small talk I’m sure you all want to get into the serious stuff.

Let’s talk food yes? Lets!

So first thing I got to try were the crispy pork bao’s. The pork is slow roasted for 5 hours and the skin is super crispy. The buns where soft and fluffy. There was a few Vietnamese mint leaves in there too which I found to be a very nice addition to these bad boys. They are a very generous size and they get the thumbs up from me.

Next to the table was the Saigon Beef! This dish comes out super-hot on a sizzling plate, slices of tender scotch fillet and two fried eggs. Yummos!! This dish is perfect to eat with a Vietnamese Baguette which are crispy on the outside and airy in the middle. This is one of the most popular dishes.

I was then invited into the kitchen to help prepare the next dish and watch Chef Ami in action!

The dish was Crispy pork belly stir fried with Asian kale and ginger. The texture of the crispy pork and the kale worked well together. I would have liked a bit more chilli in it but I guess that’s my fault for not speaking up especially when I was helping to make the dish hahaha. All jokes aside I really enjoyed this dish and highly recommend you try this one.

Next up was the Vegan stuff. Now admittedly I’m a meat loving carnivore, but if there is flavour involved I’m all for it and I’m up for giving any dish a crack! Now I’m not going to lie to you I had my reservations about the next few dishes, being vegan and all. But I wanted to put the fat monk to the test. First up was Salt & Pepper tofu. I know what your think Tofu? Yep, tofu. I’m actually a big fan of tofu as I did grow up eating the stuff. So I sort of already knew I was going to like this one and I was right. And I did. The little bite sizes pieces of Tofu where crispy and the satay sauce that came with them. OMG!!! No more to say on that one. 1 – O to the fat monk. Second of the vegan dishes were the Hanoi Crispy Spring rolls. Wow I was very pleasantly surprised and as the name stated they were sure crispy. These little bad boys were filled with all sorts from mushrooms to carrots and even mung beans! Ok 2 – 0 for the Monk. Now I’m a huge curry fan, but I would be lying if I told you I had ever made one without meat or even fish sauce or shrimp paste for that matter. So I was confident I was going to get one up on the Monk here! But first and foremost I have to say this dish looked beautiful and the colours where amazing. I took a spoonful of the curry and boom! Oh, I was not expecting that. Flavour bomb!!! This curry rocked and I have to admit I didn’t miss the meat in there at all. The monk won me over on this day!!!

They say we should leave the best for last! And that’s an understatement here. The final dish of the day was none other than a bowl of the world famous noodle soup. Pho!!! But from the offset I could tell this was not going be no ordinary Pho. With a big beef bone sticking out from the bowl I knew this was going to be tops! To my delight, upon inspection I found tender sliced beef and bone marrow. Turns out that bone sticking out of the bowl was an 8 hour slow cooked rib eye that was just fall off the bone delicious. Normally I would add bean shoots, basil leaves a squeeze of lemon, and of course some chilli and sauce. But I just couldn’t wait. I just wanted to duck straight in and try that beef. And oh my, was I a happy camper. Sorry fat monk, Sir loin wins on this one. hahahaha
I really only have one word to say one this say about this dish.

Pho-licious !!

So all in all I had a great day, and got to enjoy some awesome food. If you would like to come and try it for your self. You can find District 3429 at 91 Oshanassy St, Sunbury VIC 3429. Or you could even have them come cater your next party, event or even wedding! Give them a call on 03 8015 8704 for more details. Web. IG. @thefat_monk FB. @district3429



If you would like to see my full video segment from the day and full write up follow the link over to to my blog post.  Its a fun watch!!!


But here are some bloopers for your viewing pleasure 😂😂😂


Video filmed and edited by Paul Anthony Nelson of Cinema Viscera 




The Broken Lion!

 My Cơm Tấm Burger


So in this post today I’m not sharing a recipe with you. Sorry about that.  I just want to share with you one of my cooking stories. I hope it can inspire you to have fun and be creative in the kitchen.

Cooking is an essential part of life. We cook so we can we eat. We eat, so we can live. I guess it’s as simple as that.  So if we have to do it why not enjoy it?

Some of us are really good at it, and find it enjoyable. Some of us just hate it. But love or hate it, one time or another we will find ourselves in the kitchen when we really don’t want to be there.

For those that don’t know me, I’ll tell you a bit about myself. I don’t like cooking, I really don’t.  I love cooking!!

For the most part I can’t wait to get into the kitchen.

But I’m just like most of you, I work a full time job. So after a long day’s work, cooking dinner can feel like a chore.

Lucky for me I only need to cook for one. Actually I tell a lie, I need to cook for one and a half  (the little fury four legged guy need to eat too)

So during the week days  I tend to cook meals that I will have left overs so the next day I won’t need to cook again.

Sometimes the left overs actually taste better the next day, say like a curry or something like that.

Now I hate wasting food, (I really do!) so I won’t throw anything away, but after multiple days of eating the same thing I can start to get over it.

It’s on those days that I start to get a bit creative and those are the days I have the most fun in the kitchen.

So the other day was one of those such days. I had been eating pork chop on broken rice for a few days straight.

For those who are not familiar with this dish it’s a very popular Vietnamese dish which in Vietnamese is called  “cơm tấm bì sườn chả trứng

So a marinated pork chop sườn is served on top a bed of broken rice cơm tấm accompanied by some shredded pork and pork skin with a slice of pork loaf  chả and then topped with a fried egg trứng !  It is usually served with some fresh slices of tomato and cucumber and of course a bowl of Vietnamese dipping sauce nước chấm.


As much as I love the dish after 3 days of eating it, I had had enough.

Now want to see how and why I turned it into a burger with cheese?

Which I named THE BROKEN LION burger.

Follow the below link over to my blog post on to see how I came up with the idea and made it.




Trái khơm nướng. Grilled Pineapple with xo cognac & butter sauce

Grilled pineapple with xo cognac & butter sauce



So I bought a whole pineapple the other day to make some mam nem dipping sauce as I was having beef wrapped in rice paper rolls.

(I’ll show you how I make them in a later post)

After making the mam nem, I still had half of the pineapple left and wasn’t sure what I would make with it, so I put it in the fridge for later use.

After dinner I was sitting on the couch having a glass of cognac. As one does of course.

As I was sipping away, I thought to myself. I wouldn’t mind something for desert.

Now I’m not much of a desert person, but the sweet tooth does rear its head from time to time.  I got to thinking, I might have some ice cream.

  Yep that sounded good!

Then I remembered I still had half of the pineapple in the fridge. So I had some Ice cream in the freezer, half a pineapple in the fridge and a glass of cognac in hand.

Well what do you know hey!

 I’m guessing you can work out what came next.


Trái khơm nướng

Grilled pineapple with xo cognac & butter sauce


ingredients for grill pineapple with xo butter sauce


1 /2 a large or 1 small fresh pineapple

1 /4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup XO cognac

(Rum or Bourbon would work well if you don’t have Cognac)

2 tsp salted butter

2 kaffir lime leaves

Juice & zest of a lime

Ice cream to serve



Peel and core the pineapple, then slice into wedges about 2cm thick.

Finely slice the kaffir lime leave into slivers.

Zest and great the lime.

In a small sauce pan over low heat, add your sugar, lime juice, butter and XO cognac stir to

Combine until all sugar has dissolved and sauce has thickened a bit. About 2.5 mins

Grill the pineapple on each side for side for 3 mins, brush with the sauce as you go

Now place 2 or 3 pieces of the pineapple on a plate, add a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with the sauce.

Then garnish with the lime zest & kaffir leaf to finish off.


Surf N Turf Asian Style

Surf N Turf  Asian Style

It’s summer in Australia now and it’s religious here that you fire up the BBQ!!
It’s pretty common for us to chuck a couple of snags on there or a rissole or two.

But that can get a bit boring at times.

There is so much you can cook on a BBQ. In fact if you can cook it in the kitchen you can pretty much cook it on the BBQ.

You can do vegetables on the BBQ which can takes them to a whole new level.

Meats are the most popular thing to cook, from a good old lamb chop to a fancy steak.
You could even go the seafood route, like a famous Aussie once said

“chuck a shrimp on the barbie”
Funny thing is we don’t call them shrimp down under, we call them prawns.

You can combine the two and cook a surf ‘n’ turf, and that’s exactly what I did for my first guest blog post on .

But of course I had to put a Saba twist on it and gave it an Asian flavour.

If you made my Yakiniku Tare from my last post then you are already half way to making this dish.

Want to check out how I made it?

Press on the below link to  check out my full recipe and video at Lion Brand Rice



Yakiniku Tare, Japanese Grilled Meat Sauce

Yakiniku Tare  Japanese Grilled Meat Sauce

Let me tell you a bit of a saucy story! 

Many years ago I met this kind and beautiful Japanese girl named Aya.  She would later become my wife. But that’s a story for another time. What did you think I was going to tell you about my love life? This is not that type of saucy story. 😂😂😂

Aya introduced me to many Japanese ingredients and flavors. One of these things was a Japanese dipping sauce called ‘Yakiniku tare’. I still remember the first time I tried it. I was blown away with how good it tasted. We would go to the Japanese mart and buy this sauce, but it was very expensive. It would cost from $6 -$10 for a tiny little bottle. I really loved this sauce, but I couldn’t afford to keep shelling out that much cash each time, especially with the amount of it I would use in one sitting. So I made my own version and now I use as much as I want!


The Shopping List

1/4 cup  Sake

1/4 cup Mirin

1/3 cup Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

1/3 cup Sugar

1 Teaspoon Ground Dried Chilli (optional if you like spicy)

1 Teaspoon Grated Garlic

1 Teaspoon Grated Ginger

1 Cheek of a Nashi Pear Grated

1 Tablespoon Toasted White Sesame Seeds


Ok lets make some sauce!

In a small saucepan add the sugar, sake, mirin, vinegar and soy sauce.
Simmer over a medium heat to all the sugar has dissolved and flavours have come together.
(About 3 minutes)
Add the grated garlic and ginger and stir well to combine.
Turn off the heat and add the toasted sesame seeds.
Leave to cool.
Now add the chilli (if using), and grate in the nashi pear.
Pour into a jar and refrigerate to let the flavours become best of friends.
For best results leave overnight.

Now it’s ready to serve and enjoy!!

Guest Blogging For The Lion! Lion Brand Rice

Lion Brand Rice

So this website is only a few weeks old now and I’m super happy how its coming along.  When I started conceiving and building the website, I actually didn’t even know what a blog was. I didn’t even know where to start to create a website. I’m not even that computer literate. All I knew was I love to cook and love taking photos of my food. All I  really wanted to do was share it with the world. I didn’t expect much from it, just hoping that people would enjoy my content and find some of my recipes interesting and delicious of course.

So when Lion Brand Rice approached me and asked me to be a guest blogger on their website  I was all for it and very excited!

 But then I thought to myself.  I actually don’t know how to blog!  I’m not a writer or photographer.  What was I going to do???  I was a little stressed out about it to tell you the truth.  I spoke to a friend about it and she said to me “Saba you dumb dumb, what do you think your been doing the last few years on your instagram account? just do what you do every night”   That put my mind at ease. So here I go, off to enter the big wide world of blogging. Wish me luck!!!

Press on the below link to  check out my interview with Lion Brand Rice



Pork Chop on Broken Rice with a Sunny Side Up Egg!


The Story of Pork Chop on Broken Rice with a Sunny Side Up Egg!


You know I’ve been told that every dish has a story to tell.

Here is the story of my dish and I hope it brings a smile to your face.

Did you ever hear the tail about the pig and the chicken?


Ok, I’ll tell it to you.

A chicken crossed the road and walk over to a  rice field.

He didn’t notice it straight away.

But there was a pig resting in the field.

The chicken laughed at the pig and said to him “your so fat piggy”.

Unbeknownst to the chicken. This was no ordinary pig.


So the pig gave the chicken the biggest pork chop ever!

It was so hard the ground shook and all the rice broke.

And the chicken ended up laying a sunny side up egg.

That’s my stupid story and this is my dish. Pork chop on broken rice with a sunny side up egg!

By the way I’ll show you how I cooked this dish in a later post

Vietnamese Pickled Carrot and Daikon, đồ chua

đồ chua

Vietnamese Pickled Carrot and Daikon

I love anything pickled, the zesty zing they add to a dish can change a boring meal into something special. In this recipe we are going to make pickled carrot and daikon. Or đồ chua as its now in Vietnamese. These pickles are best known for being used in the famous Vietnamese baguette Bánh mì . But their use in other dishes is endless. I always have a jar in my fridge and it makes an appearance on just about every second meal I eat. Although we are using carrot and daikon today, you could replace them with what ever mix of vegetables you desire.  Unlike a traditional style of pickling, this recipe employs the quick pickle method, so no caning is required and as such is meant to eaten rather quickly. They need to be refrigerated and will last for up to 2 months.


This is such an easy recipe and only requires a few ingredients.


300g Carrot

300g Daikon

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup white vinegar

1 Cup water

1 table spoon salt


1. Add the sugar, vinegar, water and salt to a saucepan and heat over a low heat.

2. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. Clean, peel and julienne the carrots and daikon.

4. Add the carrot and daikon mix to a clean air tight jar and cover with the vinegar mixture.

5. Tighten the lids and refrigerate for 3 days.

Wow how easy was that, now serve and enjoy!


Chinese Sausage, lap cheong, lạp xưởng , What is it?

lạp xưởng

lạp xưởng

Chinese Sausage

lạp xưởng is a Chinese style sausage, known as lap cheong, lap chong in China. Chinese Sausage is generally made from pork but flavour and ingredients will vary from region to region and country to country.  In  Vietnamese we call Chinese sausage lạp xưởng and it is mostly made from pork which is marinated and sundried. It’s quite fatty and salty so a little bit can add a tone of flavour to your dish. In Vietnamese cooking it is used for a whole host of dishes ranging from fried rice to omelettes and pork buns. I always have some of these delicious sausages on hand ready for use. I like to keep mine in the fridge for a longer shelf life. You can find lạp xưởng at your local Asian store. These days I have even seen them in the Asian aisle at my local supermarket.