Enjoy Korean/Vietnamese fusion food as the Central Texas College Culinary Arts program opens the spring semester Patio Cafe Cuisine Nights Dinner series Friday. Dinner will be served from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the culinary arts area of the Student Center (Building 106) in Killeen.
The appetizers are yaki mandu fritters ($5.75) — this version of a Korean classic has a Vietnamese cha gio filling of ground beef, bean sprouts, ginger, garlic and scallions fried to a golden crisp and served with a gochujang mayo; and bulgogi banh mi ($4.50) — Korean BBQ beef in a crispy French baguette with pickled daikon radish and carrot, then garnished with fresh cilantro and cucumber. The soup is soup of Saigon ($6.75 for a bowl or $2 for a cup with an entree) — this traditional Vietnamese Pho is filled with sirloin steak, rice noodles, bean sprouts, scallions, carrots, serrano peppers and topped with sriracha and lime; served with a house salad, honey oat roll and ice tea.
Diners can choose the house salad ($4 or free with an entree) or gar a dia or chicken veggie plate ($8.50) — grilled chicken thigh meat served over a bed of Asian greens including Bok choy, Napa cabbage, mint leaves, cilantro, scallions and shredded daikon tossed in a light soy-lime vinaigrette.
The entrees are “Seoul” pork tenderloin ($12.75) — a highly seasoned rub of Chinese five-spice powder, garlic, vinegar, soy and other Asian spices on a pork tenderloin pan-seared and roasted then sliced into medallions; ha long bay fish ($13.75) — a Vietnamese spicy, dredged catfish pan-fried to golden perfection and garnished with a kimchee relish of peanuts, cilantro, spicy cabbage and cucumber; and kalbi ribs ($14.75) — chuck ribs marinated overnight in a combination of soy, mirin, garlic, sesame oil and Asian pear then grilled and basted in their own juices.
Each entrée is served with a choice of two side dishes. They are rice paddies — long-grain rice sauteed with peas, cilantro, red bell pepper, turmeric, onions and steeped in a Vietnamese-style chicken stock and formed into a patty mold; Pusan potatoes — batonnet-style potatoes stir fried with garlic, onions, ginger and soy sauce; ginger broccoli — vivid broccoli tossed with ginger, lemon and garlic; and braised Bok choy — Bok choy sautéed and braised in a semi-sweet soy-ginger chicken broth.
Cap off the dinner with dessert. Choose either ho chi minh bread ($3.50) — fresh baked sweet bread with a coconut-mandarin cream filling garnished with toasted coconut flakes and mandarin supremes — or saeng cream cake ($4.50) — Korean-style sponge cake basted with strawberry simple syrup and filled with a rum Chantilly cream then served with a fanned strawberry.
Reservations for the Patio Cafe dinner are required. Call the CTC Hospitality department at 254-526-1515.