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dining

T R A DI T IONA L V I ET NA M E SE F L AVOR S

in a Modern American setting Goi Ga-

VietnaMeSe cHicKen Salad pickling the veggies ½ head of cabbage thinly sliced 1 carrot julienned ½ small red onion thinly sliced ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup vinegar 1 ½ cup water Pinch of salt hoW To do iT

For diners looking to avoid greasy hamburgers and dishes drowned in butter, there may be an option you hadn’t considered: Vietnamese food. By JeaNa BertolDi

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hoNatic, a restaurant in north Austin and soon in south Austin, offers Vietnamese food in a fast-casual setting. The original location opened in 2011 after owners Pat and Sara Lee had the idea to make Vietnamese food more accessible to people who aren’t familiar with it. “When we set out to do PhoNatic, we wanted to mainstream Vietnamese food, pho in particular, and educate people who haven’t had Vietnamese food,” Pat Lee said. But retaining the original flavor was just as important. Pat Lee, who was born in Vietnam, wanted to offer the kind of food that his mother and grandmother made for him when he was growing up. Since the conception of PhoNatic, the Lee family’s goal has been to retain the authenticity of flavors in a setting in which most Americans might feel more comfortable. “You can have both,” Pat Lee said. “You can have the great atmosphere and also have the authentic food.” Offering healthy dishes is another priority. For customers looking to cut down on

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Place water in a small sauce pan and bring to a near boil. Remove from heat. Add sugar, vinegar and salt. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. In a mixing bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, and red onion. Pour vinegar and sugar mixture over cabbage mixture and refrigerate at least 24hrs. cooking chicken 1 large chicken breast Pinch of salt hoW To do iT

carbs, PhoNatic provides the option of ordering a meal carb-less, with the same proteins as the traditional dishes, only served over a salad instead of rice or noodles. The restaurant strives to retain quality of the food by controlling which ingredients go into their dishes. “We use very low sodium in everything we make,” said Sang Doan, the assistant manager at PhoNatic, “And we avoid processed sauces.” The restaurant uses its focus on quality ingredients to appeal to families. “Our concept and our food are very family-friendly,” Sara Lee said. As for the future of PhoNatic, the Lees are hoping to continue to expand. In addition to the new south Austin location, they are planning on opening another in Cedar Park in October. They are also looking into sourcing local ingredients for their menu. The Lees’ ultimate goal is to make Vietnamese food as popular as other Asian cuisines by offering flavorful food. “We want you to leave happy,” Pat Lee said.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Then add chicken breast and salt. Boil for about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and set on plate to cool. Once chicken has cooled, shred chicken with your hands length-wise and reserve. Fish sauce dressing 3 tablespoons sugar 4 tablespoons fish sauce 2 tablespoons lime juice 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon sambal chili 1 cup hot water hoW To do iT Combine water and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add all other ingredients and stir well. Set aside. assembling and garnish 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic 2 tablespoons canola oil 1 tablespoon fried shallots 1 tablespoon crushed roasted peanuts 1 tablespoon chopped basil hoW To do iT Heat canola oil and add garlic. Sauté until garlic turns light brown. Remove from heat and let cool.Put cabbage mixture into a thick plastic freezer bag. Seal bag, cut small incision on one corner of bag and squeeze out as much moisture from mixture as possible. Remove contents from bag and set on a serving plate. Mix with the canola and garlic mixture. Next, add chicken to cover salad mixture. Top with shallots, roasted peanuts and basil. When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad. Goi Ga is ready to enjoy, especially on a hot summer day!

Profile for Austin MD Magazine

July / August 2013  

July / August 2013  

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