Sometimes, you just want a fucking taco.
Make no mistake. The weekend that I just spent in Margaret River was unbelievable.
I ate marron and truffle in a chandelier lit marquee on the not-out-of-place-in-an-English-palace gardens of Voyager Estate, listening to the wisdom of the chef one of the world’s best chefs.
I ate marron on the shores of one of Yallingup’s most secluded and spectacular beaches, served by two of Australia’s best young chefs and was served wine by one of Australia’s most prominent wine makers. Actually, I ate more marron that weekend than I have in my whole life to date. It was a tiny bit amazing. Super fancy. Why couldn’t every day be like that?
After a weekend of pure excess, I spent the drive home asking myself the kinds of important questions about my new life as a purveyor of the finer things. Wagu? Oysters? Where does one get Russian caviar in Perth on a Monday afternoon? Do I own a champagne flute? (the answer to that is no)
As I aimlessly wandered through the supermarket, I happened across pâté. Yes. Fancy people love pâté! I then considered what to have with said pâté. Crisp bread? Cheese? And then BAM. Lightning. Banh mi was the only answer.
Pâté belongs in a roll with pickled vegetables, coriander, some kind of protein and cheap, fluffy white bread. It’s just pure mouth magic. It’s French, it’s Vietnamese, it’s easy, it’s street food. There is nothing fancy about it, and I realised that there is very little fancy about me. I love street food. Probably too much, which is why there’s a lack of truffle in my diet. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
And so home I went. I cooked. My boyfriend, housemate and I ate off a chopping board on the floor of my lounge room with our hands. And it was equally, if not more perfect than anything else I’d eaten that weekend, because sometimes, you just want a fucking taco. And I was happy.
Lemongrass Pork Banh Mi Taco
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 red chillies, thinly sliced
2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, thinly sliced
¼ cup fish sauce
40 gm grated palm sugar or brown sugar
800 gm piece of skinless pork neck, cut into 6cm thick pieces
Good quality pâté
Blitz the garlic, chili and lemongrass in a food processor until a paste forms. In a large bowl, combine the fish sauce and sugar, add the lemongrass paste, stir to combine, then add the pork and coat with marinade. Refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight.
Heat some oil in a fry pan over medium high heat and cook the pork in batches until cooked through.
When you’re ready to serve, spread a tortilla with pâté, then top with pork, pickles, coriander, mayo and sriracha, and a squeeze of lime.
Notes: Banh mi is traditionally made as a roll, however, due to the lack of appropriate bread at my local supermarket, I went with the tiny tortilla option, which was pretty damn fantastic.
The pickled carrot recipe is so stupidly easy, that I have to insist that you give it a go. If you can’t be bothered, julienne carrots are fine, but it’s really worth the extra step. Promise.