Gustavo Arellano, the OC Weekly authority on all things Mexican, doubles as an entertaining restaurant writer, scouring Orange County on a regular basis to unearth ethnic meal deals like Thuy’s Food To Go & More…
Blink when driving down Euclid Street and you’ll miss the burnt orange storefront in a Little Saigon strip mall. Thuy serves tray after tray of Vietnamese “food to go,” all baking under a battery of heat lamps. It’s unclear whether the “food to go” is any good, but it didn’t matter. I was a mission for “more,” hunting for exotic ice cream popsicles.
I found the popsicles in a freezer case near the entrance. They weighed only three ounces apiece, but after slurping two large bowls of bun bo hue, I didn’t have enough stomach space to sample all five. Red bean and coconut will have to wait until next time.
Each plastic package reads #1 CA-REM and QUIESCENTLY FROZEN FRUIT BAR. “Ca Rem” are non-dairy frozen desserts on sticks, but what the hell does quiescently mean? Should I have been nervous? Apparently not. According to Howstuffworks.com, “Flavored ice is simply put in a refrigerator and frozen. The word “quiescently” means in a restful state…Ice cream and most other frozen confections are stirred or agitated in a process known as overrunning.” With that out of the way, I Hoovered a trio of three-ounce popsicles.
DAU XANH (mung bean) was flavored with sugar, coconut milk, tapioca starch and pandan paste. Pandan contributed the green color. Orange MIT (jack fruit) and yellow-hued SAU RIENG (durian) incorporated sugar, coconut milk, tapioca starch and food color (FD&C Yellow #5). I prefer FD&C Yellow #4, but 5 will do in a pinch. Tapioca starch is used to make boba, which is usually pretty awful, but when combined with coconut milk, it created a creamy texture that could pass for ice cream. The slightly gummy substance also seemed to delay the dessert’s melting point. Don’t fear Ca Rem’s unusual flavors. Each bar was delicious, especially MIT, which was studded with pieces of jack fruit.
Considering how often I visit Little Saigon, and how flavorful the popsicles were, there’s no doubt that a return trip to Thuy’s is inevitable.