It’s summer, and that means it’s the dreaded swimsuit season. Dreaded, for this foodie, because it heralds the end of what’s meant to be seasonal gorging and gluttony. And the beginning of a tenuous time of watchful eating, because we all want a little more beach body, and a little less beached whale.
Enter Banana Blossom Asian Salads, who are touting themselves as an easy breezy healthy lunch solution, just in time for the beach season.
Beginning as a little pop-up stall at the Sydney Good Food Markets, husband-wife duo Nat and Ben Thomas has taken the positive feedback and run with it, expanding to three eateries located in Mona Vale, Manly and now, Bondi.
Ben introduces us to the two most popular salads on the menu – the Tokyo Classic, and the Triple Chilli Chicken Salad.
We then greedily ordered another two others – Minced Pork and Pineapple, and Coconut Chicken and Crispy Egg Noodle. Because, you know, we gotta sample across the menu. Yeah. Not greedy at all.
My absolute favourite was the Coconut Chicken and Crispy Egg Noodle. It was quite “typical” of a salad in that it was heavy on the greens, and the generous serving of egg noodles deep fried to a crisp added a very satisfying crunch. The dressing was mildly sweet, and very addictive, making for a very delicious bowl. The Tokyo Classic was also delightfully creamy, with an aromatic emulsified dressing made with a base of sesame oil, soy and rice vinegar.
On the downside, the Minced Pork and Pineapple was a little light on the pork – which was a shame because what there was of it, was packed full of flavour – and the Triple Chilli Chicken, advertised to be really spicy, was a bit tepid according to this Southeast Asian’s palate. But you know, I like my chilli…nuclear. If you are feeling like a bit of heat, be sure to ask them for their chilli condiment made with Thai chillies, Habanero chillies and rice vinegar. It’s blow-your-mind-and-your-mouth deliciously spicy.
Small doses, please.
I think it’s great that Banana Blossom Asian Salads is providing another light lunch option that is actually decently priced. Each salad is $14, and they fill up a bowl as large as my face. For tasting purposes, we had requested half portions, so as not to overeat, and STILL we felt like we needed to roll home. From salads. I like how these salads weren’t stingy on the dressing, and the mix of carbs – noodles or rice – and protein made it feel more like an actual meal than well, rabbit food.
Nat shares recipes from her Thai family, and Ben, who is an experienced chef who’s worked under David Thomas, executes it with finesse. Sure, it’s not particularly recognisably Asian as such, but it’s still really delicious food. On top of that, they also have portioned the ratio of food groups – carbs, proteins, veg – according to the ratio that you need nutritionally for a healthy balanced meal. And I think that’s pretty awesome.
Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Banana Blossom Asian Salads