I tend to be wary of fusion food, especially Asian fusion cuisine. It often seems overly trendy and rarely tastes as good as it sounds. However, at a recent stop to Komodo, the food truck turned brick-and-mortar restaurant in Venice, I was proven wrong. The phorrito, a take on the Vietnamese noodle soup called pho (pronounced ‘”fuh”), wrapped up like a burrito, has all the hallmarks of a great quick meal: delicious, filling and easy to hold. We decided to find out a little bit more about the dish from it’s creator, Chef Erwin Tjahyadi.
You feature a lot of fusion items on Komodo menu, like kimchi nachos and loco moco tacos. Where do you get the inspiration for these?
I grew up in a very diverse neighborhood in East Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley, so I’ve always been used to eating so many different, great cultural foods. The food I grew up on has definitely influenced my palate, so it’s only natural that I use the inspirations of the diverse and comforting flavors from my childhood when thinking about new dishes.
What was the inspiration for the Phorrito?
Pho is one of my favorite dishes in the winter. It’s aromatic, full of umami and abundantly flavorful. It’s a shame that you can’t eat it on the go! When my partners requested that we all come up with a soup-inspired dish for a menu special, I immediately thought of pho, but in burrito form. I loved the idea of my two favorite dishes mashed together in a portable way. It became a viral burrito, and the rest is history.
What’s the steps to the construction of the Phorrito/what ingredients go in there?
The ingredients are a flour tortilla, vermicelli noodles, Thai basil, bean sprouts, chopped cilantro, minced garlic, thinly slice rib-eye steak, Hoisin sauce, spicy chili sauce, jalapenos, yellow onion, lime juice and a secret homemade pho broth. Place the meat boiled in the pho broth on top of the tortilla, add the sautéed jalapenos, garlic and onions and drizzle Hoisin and chili sauce. Add fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro and cook vermicelli noodles. Drizzle more hoisin and chili sauce, wrap and enjoy!
Why choose noodles instead of rice?
Pho is traditionally served with vermicelli noodles – they are thin noodles that absorb the broth really well and are a great conduit for all the bold flavors in Pho. It’s also a nice textural element to the dish against the thinly-sliced meat.
Any interesting new menu items for the future?
The Mie Goreng Ramen burrito is our next special that will be coming back in January 2017. The Mie Goreng dish is a popular Indonesian-style fried noodles rich with flavor and spices. In our burrito, we use ramen noodles in the Mie Goreng, mix it with Chinese BBQ sausage along with our secret ingredients, and wrap it in a warm tortilla. Each bite is packed with flavor, delivering one hell of a bite!