Bún mắm and Rice Paper Scissors on top of the Stockton street Garage
Where do you go when you need to get above it all? Also, you’re a truck. Twin Peaks is a good bet (wait for this post, coming soon for sure). But what if you’re stuck downtown? A good, solid parking structure is a great place to take a breather. If you happen to have a couple of limes, eggplant, vermicelli, palm sugar, coconut water, lemongrass, various herbs, a portable gas burner, some tiny red stools, and the all important mam ca loc (fermented fish paste) then you can also enjoy a tasty bowl of bún mắm or fermented fish noodle soup.
Ok we didn't just have those things on hand. We asked our friends Katie and Valerie from Rice Paper Scissors to tailgate and cook with us. They chose the Stockton garage because of its proximity to two OG asian neighborhoods (the Tenderloin and Chinatown) and because of its spectacular views of downtown SF.
Katie used the coconut water as a base, infusing it with lemongrass, peppers, palm sugar and mam ca loc before adding fresh fish and squid. She cooked these through and then we garnished with fresh herbs, more peppers and roasted eggplant. It turns out that fermented fish paste is really smelly! Definitely not for the faint of nostril.
The smell of our delicious fermented fish soup caught the attention of the garage security guard, who told us that we weren't allowed to be up on the roof of the garage. We assured him that we were just making soup and that we wouldn't be long. Did he want a bowl? He stared declined our offer and was somewhat perplexed by our explanation, but for a while he seemed satisfied.
We toasted with the 2014 Domaine de Brin Gaillac Blanc, one of our personal favorites from Southwest France. Aromatic and textured, it's the perfect wine to bring out the exotic flavors of the soup while playing nice with the spice.
On our way out we looked for the security guard so we could give him some of the soup that his patience had made possible, but he was nowhere to be found. Thanks Unknown Stockton Garage Security Guard!