Lately, I find the hardest part of having food allergies is that I am developing more with age. Peanuts and tree nuts have always been an allergy for me, but I have grown into things like soy, sesame, and many fruits & vegetables. It can be challenging because I know what I am missing. Things like sushi, dim sum, and pretty much Chinese food in all its glory.
I grew up eating a lot of Chinese food. My favourites were boa wow, Peking duck, sweet and sour soup, crystal fold, Cheong fun, and now that I think about it, I could list off an entire menu! My family spent so many meals at Chinese restaurants it’s where I learned how to spell my name. Oh, the memories of Lazy Susans and plastic table clothes. ☺️
Over the years, I have been experimenting with how to get Asian flavours back into my life and this is where I fell in love with fish sauce. It is nowhere near soy sauce or hoisin sauce, but it has the umami and salty flavour that I am looking for in some dishes!
Fish Sauce & Crystal Fold!
When I was a kid crystal fold was one of those dishes that was so much fun to eat! This was before Mexican food was on our radar, so crystal fold could be considered our taco. We would line our lettuce with hoisin sauce, add the meat, and fried rice noodles. It was a messy good time!
Now, when I make it at home, we use fish sauce in flavouring the meat, swap out fried rice noodles for brown rice and leave the hoisin sauce out completely. Crystal fold is a fantastic ‘go to meal’ when you want something full flavoured and light.
I think this dish is best served with iceberg lettuce. Probably the least healthy lettuce choice, but seriously so crunchy and wraps around the filling really well. If you are an anti-iceberg kind of person, leaf lettuce or Boston lettuce work well and are more attractive when it comes to presentation.
The way we serve this dish is family style. Place all the ingredients in the middle of the table and have at it! Some like no rice, some like it very full, some even like to mix it up. This is a fun and social meal that will leave people with smiling faces and saucy hands! For real saucy hands! Napkins advised 😄