Passport to Hong Kong

Every time I eat at an Asian restaurant, I’m always in awe of how amazing everything tastes when it looks so complicated to make… especially noodle bowls. I’ve wanted to make an at home version for a long time now, and thanks to Rachael Ray, this dream is finally coming true! On tonight’s menu is Baked Crab Spring Rolls and Noodle Bowls. The recipes seem a bit complicated, but there’s nothing that my friend’s and I can’t conquer so lets get cooking!

Lyss and I started this adventure with going to Trader Joe’s on the Upper West Side. The place was a madhouse like usual, and not surprisingly, we weren’t able to find all of the ingredients. Luckily, there is a Fairway two blocks up so we headed straight over with high hopes that we would find the last of the ingredients.

It was a struggle to find the last few ingredients on our own. Lets be real who actually knows where water chestnuts, bean sprouts, and phyllo dough is in the grocery store? Luckily, a nice worker named Lamine took us to each and every item. He was real sassy though. I told him that these were the items we couldn’t find at Trader Joe’s…that was not the right thing to say because then he went off saying “Oh, I see how it is. Treating Fairway like a second rate grocery store. How would Trader Joe’s like it if they knew you were cheating on them??” I had no clue what to say so I just shut my mouth and followed him.

We headed home and everyone came over around 7. Lyss, Mel, and I started chopping before Krystyna and Amy arrived. Once they arrived, things got a little wild, and not in a good way.

I asked Mel to open the crab meat, and she is deathly afraid of sea creatures so she almost threw up. Then, I just kind yelled at her to poach some chicken and she had no idea what to do….sorry Mel.

Eventually we got some sort of an assembly line going on. Lyss and I took care of the noodle bowls: I’d put the veggies in, she’d add the noodles, then we both ladled the broth in. This part went pretty smooth, until the broth would spill out….not a fun clean up.

Amy and Krystyna made the spring rolls, but trying to figure out the phyllo dough was an issue. We didn’t realize how thin it was and we continuously ripped it. Although, they got the hang of it pretty quickly and made many baby spring rolls. Mel and Ashley made themselves a separate filling without any crab, and they *attempted* to roll their stuff….they looked like little blobs.

When all the spring rolls were finally rolled, we put them in the oven and started to eat the noodle bowls. Amy came all prepared with her special chopsticks and spoon, and the bowls looked good so we were pretty excited.

So now for the first moment of truth! 3..2..1…uhhh…I don’t know what I was eating. The whole thing was basically flavorless. The best way to describe it was cabbage water. So bleh…and everyone felt the same way. The others tried to spice it up by adding garlic powder, salt & pepper, but nothing worked. Mel even said “this tastes like ass.” Good way to put it Mel.

We had higher hopes for the spring rolls. We took them out of the oven and we had another moment of truth.  3..2..1. HOT. because we didn’t let them cool…and salty, a little too salty. Everyone said they were good, but the looks on their faces said otherwise. We each had one and were done.

Well, we didn’t want all the spring rolls to go to waste, so Ashley, Mel, and I put them into baggies and headed out to find some homeless people to give them too. During any other hour of the day there are tons of homeless people out, but I guess when the sun goes down they all find shelter because we found maybe 2. So, we left the rolls in random places hoping they would be eaten by someone. At least we tried to help the homeless.

When we came home there was red velvet cake ready for us: the only delicious part of the night. Thank God for cake.

Now time for rating…this is going to be pitiful. the Baked Crab Spring Rolls receive ♥♥ (2) hearts. Too salty, way too salty. They were just weird, and it was obvious no one was a big fan of them..well except for Ashley and Mel who had their rolls without the crab meat. As for the Noodle Bowls they also receive ♥♥ (2) hearts. I feel like it could be better if there were some spices in the bowls, but all in all it was ass, as Mel put it. This Chinese cuisine attempt was an epic fail. Thank God there is a Domino’s pizza sitting in front of me right now. Bon apetite!

Until next week!

-Mary Honkus

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