Expect the Unexpected

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! We had a meeting for K’s playschool last week and she got to meet some of her classmates, teacher, and see her classroom for the first time. Parents were allowed to bring their kids and drop them off in the classroom with the teacher while we went to our meeting. We thought it was going to be a difficult time dropping her off cause she would be attached to us and wouldn’t let us leave. Well, total opposite guys! She was so impressed with all the toys that when we told her we’d be back soon, her reply was, “Okay, see you soon.” Neither of us were expecting that response. Where’s my daughter and what did you do with her? Anyways, 2 hours later the meeting was over and when we went to take K home, she didn’t want to leave. Long story short, it was 9 pm, we were the last ones there, and Dad had to carry a shoeless, screaming Cinderella (who refused to say bye to the teacher) out of her classroom. Oh the perks of parenthood (forcing a smile). Let’s talk about something more joyful shall we? FOOD!

Visited Pagolac in Chinatown again this weekend. I usually order the “pho tai” (rare beef and noodle soup) with spicy soup, but today I felt like having their weekend special, “bun rieu“. Pagolac’s version is a tomato based soup with shrimp, (faux) crab meat and ground pork with vermicelli. When I make bun rieu at home, I put in a lot more seafood. If you dislike tomatoes, I highly suggest you steer clear of this dish.

Topped with some bean sprouts, Thai Basil and hot sauce.

Gary, AKA The Hungry Hubby, ordered a large “bun bo hue” (spicy rice noodle soup with well done sliced beef).

It comes with the thicker noodles, which I’m not too fond of.

I can usually finish my dish, but for some reason I couldn’t finish this time. There was nothing wrong with it either. It was totally unexpected, and as much as I hated it, I had to stop and obey what my body was telling me. Do you always try to finish everything?

Here’s something else I didn’t expect, The Hungry Hubby finished his large bowl, my leftovers and the children’s leftovers. Now you know why he calls himself The Hungry Hubby.

After all that, a long stroll was much needed. We went and got K her very first back pack! I think I’m more excited for her than she is. I’m loving those double-decker carts the malls now have (and so are the kids).

Also had dinner at my parents’ house again so I’d like to share this quick and easy beef salad dish with you. Sorry for the horrible phone pictures; I forgot my camera that day.

Makes two plates, feeds 4 to 6 people.


  • 1/2 an iceberg lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes (sliced)
  • 1 white onion (shredded)
  • 1/2 lb beef (sliced)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic (chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil

Before you do anything, you’ll want to marinade your sliced beef for about half an hour.

Beef Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Start layering your plate with lettuce on the bottom, then the sliced tomatoes, then the sliced onions. Repeat this again with another layer exactly the same.

You can’t really tell by the next picture, but there are actually two layers of lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.

Before you start cooking your beef, you’ll want to prepare your dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce:

  • juice of 1 whole lime
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Next, heat up a wok with some cooking oil. Dump in the garlic and cook until they’re just starting to turn brown. Dump in your sliced beef and toss around until you achieve the doneness that you like.

Scoop up the beef and place on top of your salad.

Try to get a piece of everything and dip it into the sauce.

My Dad contaminated the sauce with a piece of something oily (I forget what) that he dipped in there so that’s why there’s a rim of oil; I was not impressed.

You can easily substitute the beef with chicken, shrimp, pork, or even fish fillets. This can be enjoyed as an appetizer or eaten with rice.

Here’s something else I wasn’t expecting from K:

Don’t ask. Just keep swimming……just keep swimming (anyone remember what that’s from?). Thank you for reading about my crazy life again. Untill next time friends and family :-D.


31 Responses to “Expect the Unexpected”

  1. 1 5 Star Foodie September 13, 2010 at 7:30 am

    The beef salad sounds terrific! Yummy with the dipping sauce!

  2. 2 Stella September 13, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Hey LeQuanis, that’s so great that K was having such a fun time at the parent meet up before classes started. I expect she’ll do very well at school with her piers and handle being away from Mom & Dad with grace (smile)…
    Oh, and I really don’t like to admit it, but that salad with that thin sliced beef on it looks awesome! Especially seeing it in that pan being sauteed. Ugh, I can’t take it;-) Yum! Ooh, and white onion, tomato, and beef are a killer combination-me thinks & remembers. I would imagine it was heavenly in the sauce…
    p.s Gary can eat, can’t he? I mean, that’s a lot of food for such a thin guy. I don’t get it. He’s lucky. Oh, and I love that photo of him with the crazy eyes-that’s hilarious!

  3. 3 Leah @ Why Deprive? September 13, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Ok Im LOVING that firetruck cart for the kids. I wonder if they would let me sit in it?

    That salad looks delicious.

    And yes, I always try and finish everything. If its something really big, I usually divide my plate in half, and take the second half home. But its like a challenge to try and get through it all. Not exactly the best attitude, but I like challenging myself. 🙂

  4. 4 anncoo September 13, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Lequan, I really hope I can try that 3 bowls of noodle, of course not the whole bowl…hahaa..
    The beef salad looks so delicious too with that dipping sauce…makes me mouth watering!

  5. 5 Ameena September 13, 2010 at 10:59 am

    You must be so relieved that K did well at school!! There is nothing worse than having to say goodbye to a crying child. The guilt!! Today was Maya’s first day in kindergarten so I can relate to what you are going through.

    I don’t eat beef but this looks fantastically delicious LeQuan!

    Love the clips in his hair…too cute. Just wait til K puts lipstick on him like I did to my brother!

    Have a great week!!

  6. 6 MaryMoh September 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Love your daughter’s story in school…haha. My daughter was just the opposite when she was that age. She clung to me as if for dear life and screamed at the top of her voice. I thought the ceiling would come down! I’m so glad it didn’t take her too long to like the place….what a relief!

    Love that double decker. Was it easy for you to ask her to leave that and go home? 😀

    Wow…your hubby can really eat. I wonder whether he secretly wishes that you can’t finish all the time…haha.

    Thanks very much for sharing that lovely beef dish. Looks very delicious….yum. Take care, LeQuan. Hope you have fun each day!

    • 7 luvtoeat September 13, 2010 at 5:07 pm

      That is too funny about your daughter. Mine was the opposite today, cried all the way home cause she didn’t want to leave school. Lol.

      K left the double decker with no problems, it was little brother who didn’t want to part with it. I never win. Lol.

      Hope you are having a great start to your week, Mary!

  7. 8 Monet September 13, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Your beef salad looks delicious. I don’t eat much meat, but just seeing your plates made me hungry! And I just loved hearing about your daughter…it sounds like she is going to adjust well! I loved school growing up, and hopefully she will have a similar passion. Thanks for sharing!

  8. 9 Juliana September 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Oh! Everything looks so delicious, and I just had lunch not long ago 🙂 Love the pho and your beef salad looks awesome…SO SO tasty!

  9. 10 Anna Johnston September 13, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    I love reading about your ‘crazy life’ as you call it. Actually I ooohhhh’d & aahhrrr’d over your food, love asian influences & thought all your pictures looked pretty interesting to me. (Now, you have to forgive me here LeQuan) – I don’t have kids but figure the big old red double decker bus would be amazing for them…., is it also a storage to stash shopping in as well…., or just a playtoy for the kids? It looks pretty cool though – can’t remember anything as fun as that when my bro & I were kids…, we always fought (long & loud…, sorry Momma) on who was going to sit up the top of the shopping trolley 🙂

    • 11 luvtoeat September 13, 2010 at 11:05 pm

      Hi Anna!

      Kids these days are super spoiled aren’t they? Just so that there’s no misunderstanding, the double decker belonged to the mall. You can rent those at some malls for $2. At the bottom there IS actually storage space for jackets or shopping bags. I almost wanted to take it home with me. Teehee.

  10. 12 denise @ quickies on the dinner table September 13, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I love reading about your crazy days LeQuan! Gives me something to be grateful for,ie, my kids are grown up (well, compared to yours at least) LOL

    SO glad that your girl took to class like a duck to water. Just keep swimming ROFL

    That dipping sauce is very unique – never seen or tasted anything like it! Have to try it the next time, and, I actually can see that there are double layers of toms and veggies!

    Your boy looks adorable in your hair clips ROFL I’m not sure you want to hear that though 😉

    Btw – can I trade metabolisms with Gary?!? I’ll throw in my cookbook collection 😀

  11. 13 Jessie September 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Finding Nemo!! I must have watched that movie on repeat a million times when I was working at a children’s museum. Great movie 🙂

    Like Denise, I love reading about your crazy days – because then I get to learn what my future life will be like, hehe 🙂 Always learnin’ from ya. I’m so glad K enjoyed her first day! I foresee that you’ll have very few problems with your kiddies and school in the future – well, at least that’s what I wish upon you 😛

    K and L are so cute in that cart! I’ve never seen anything like it! Is it wrong that I want to coast up and down the aisles in it, at the ripe old age of 25? And the clips in L’s hair – hee. You’ll definitely have to keep that picture for ammunition- er, I mean memories 😀

    I love the layered salad and tomato and beef dish! So beautiful! I can tell you worked on the presentation. I’m drooling over that tangy dipping sauce too, mmm. Too bad it was contaminated – bad Hungry Hubby!


  12. 14 Cooking Gallery September 14, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Oh, yum yum yum! I love Vietnamese foods and your son is so adorable!

  13. 15 A Canadian Foodie September 14, 2010 at 7:41 am

    What a beautiful post. Kids are truly different at school than at home. So glad it wasn’t a heartache! That salad looks deadly. So simple,but such fresh flavours. Thanks for sharing it as this well definitely be something I will try. YYUM.
    And I love the pics of the kiddies. What absolutely adorable sweethearts. YUP. You are reaching the phase of parenting where your children will begin to surprise you daily as they develop their own little minds… isn’t parenting the most wonderful experience in the entire world?
    And Pagolac. I am so glad you took me there. I love the satay soup. And, now I have some other options to try… well, I will do satay, but now know what to suggest for Vanja.
    Big hugs!!!

  14. 16 Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron September 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    haha K didn’t want to leave a teacher! that’s so great. She’s going to be an excellent student and won’t want to miss school. I’ve had those 2 noodles LeQuan! I like the one you ordered but not so much for the spicy beef one. Keith likes it, tho. Yes, the hungry hubby ate a lot 😀 I didn’t know the mall has that cart for kids? that looks so fun. Oh, yes the beef salad looks so easy to make and looks so tasty. Need that kinda meal for my busy weekdays.
    I won’t forget to say this..K, you did a good job on your brother! haha.

  15. 17 tigerfish September 14, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I have not tried Bun Rieu before but I think I will like it cos it has got TOMATOES! Family and food bring us joy 🙂

  16. 18 Devaki @ weavethousandflavors September 14, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Dear Le Quan – All those soups and thick engorged noodles had me drooling and oh the salad…..yummy!

    Also so cute with the hair clips! Too bad I can’t do that to my boys without them needing serious therapy..lol..

    I have been moving and am trying desperately to play blog catch up!

    Hugs, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  17. 19 Biren @ Roti n Rice September 14, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Glad to hear that K enjoyed the meet up. She will probably enjoy school as well.

    Those noodles look yummy and the beef is double yummy! Whenever I see you guys doing stir-fry with a wok, it makes me miss the gas stove 😦

    Cute picture of your boy with the hair clips. I have a feeling he will not be too amused when he gets older and sees this picture.

  18. 20 Kelsey September 15, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    haha if only adults could fit into those shopping carts!! thats adorable ❤ keeps the kiddies entertained while the parents get some shopping done 😉

    im more of a thin noodle fan myself. the big hokkein noodles or udon noodles arent as yummy as the vermicelli or rice noodles. but the food still looks incredible!!


  19. 21 Evan @swEEts September 15, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I laughed picturing a little kid kicking and screaming because they didn’t want to leave school.. too cute! (Although I’m sure it didn’t seem like that at the time ha!) I’m jealous of your yummy dinners! Loving your blog 🙂

  20. 22 Blessedhi5ive September 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Cute and sweet duo in the double-decker you have there. Your food pictures always make me crave for some spicy Pho noodles. I did not realize marinating and cooking beef is not too hard. Your recipe looks simple and yummy so I will try it this weekend. Usually I am afraid to cook beef. Thanks for leaving your sweet comments in my blog. Much appreciated!

  21. 23 eatspinlive September 15, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I love the firetruck cart! You and your family all look so happy! I really think that the salads look delicious and I love how you arranged the tomatoes on top! And Finding Nemo happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time! I love fish 🙂

  22. 24 Magic of Spice-Alisha September 18, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Your kids are just adorable…and man can your Husband eat, lucky he has you 🙂 (I sure for more reasons than your cooking, lol)…I love that simple dipping sauce, I think too complicated most of the time, but I usually most enjoy simple delights. I am not a meat eater but the dish does sound great 🙂

  23. 25 weighty September 27, 2010 at 12:16 am

    gonna send this to my mom

  24. 26 Sharon December 23, 2010 at 8:03 am

    I made the beef salad!!! It was simply AWESOME!! Thanks a gazillion! Honestly, SO appetizing I’m going to make it again tonight. I could eat it everyday 😀

  25. 28 Sharon December 26, 2010 at 8:15 am

    I definitely did! And I love how you take the time to reply comments 🙂

    • 29 LeQuan May 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm

      I’m making my beef salad again tonight and was reading through these comments again. I don’t reply to everybody, only the one’s I have a “crazy” connection with 😉 haha.

  1. 1 Quickies Noodle Challenge: Bun Rieu « luvtoeat Trackback on December 1, 2010 at 12:01 am
  2. 2 The Greatest Beef Salad. EVER. | sharonmoh Trackback on December 26, 2010 at 8:13 am

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