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Today's Case

Viet My Sate

Subject: Viet My Sate recipe request
From: Christian
Date: 12/22/2019, 10:51 AM

On 12/21/2019 3:21 PM, Christian wrote:

Dear Uncle Phaedrus,

Perhaps you can help me, and or maybe this will be an interesting one?
Perhaps you already know and this won't be that much of a challenge, but
over the years when I have tried to suss out the dish I remember and miss
my searches haven't gotten me anywhere.

When I moved to Seattle many years ago (20+) there was a restaurant in an
obscure little building downtown called Viet My. The menu if I recall
correctly was primarily Vietnamese, but one dish in particular has
remained in my memory as one of the best, and one of my most favorite,
cheap eats. It was a soupy bowl called "Sate". Much like bun noodles, you
could get chicken or grilled pork or beef or shrimp and/or fried egg roll,
all of which seemed to be add-ons to the basic dish. I think there were
rice noodles, plus tomato, cucumber, maybe cilantro, plus a handful of
ground peanuts, all floating in a broth with some taste of coconut, but
not like a Thai coconut soup, more of a coconut water, if that makes any
sense. Sweetish, not cloying, not sour.

I have not been to Vietnam, or Cambodia, but I have been to Thailand. I
have not seen a dish that matches up with what I remember (I used to get
the Viet My Sate, which was the combo of everything above). When I search,
I inevitably get recipes for the sweet peanut sauce popular in it's
Indonesian version, but never a form of soup noodle.

Viet My used to be in either the Tashiro or the Kaplan building on 3rd and
Prefontaine. (The reason I can't remember is because those two were King
County buildings that got surplussed and redeveloped by ArtSpace
(Minneapolis) and turned into artist gallery and living spaces. ArtSpace
added 3 floors to the top across both buildings and now the whole place is
referred to as Toshiro-Kaplan, so I no longer remember which was which.

It seems like Viet My moved to 4th Avenue in the Bank of America food
court, and then got displaced a few years later. I'm including links to a
Seattle PI article: Seattle PI

and to the legacy Yelp page (which includes some photos of the shrimp and
the beef versions): Yelp

If you have any insight as to how to search further, or maybe I'm missing
something obvious, I would be very grateful. This particular dish is
embedded in my personal memory, right next to the madeleines and my mom's
posole, and I'd love to make it when I get nostalgic (since I can no
longer find it in the wild).


Hi Christian,

This was indeed interesting. Forgive me ifáI ramble on a bit about "sate".

"Sate", is also spelled "sa te" and "satay", but it should not be not be confused with "chicken satay", the appetizer served on skewers with peanut "satay sauce". Viet My's "sate" is a soup, as you say. It is basically a variety of the Vietnamese soup calledá "pho", which is similar to "ramen". The thing thatá makes "sate pho" or "pho sate" different from ordinary "pho" is "sate sauce", which is a spicy chili sauce. When searching the Internet for sate recipes, you should search using "sate", "sa te" and "satay" spellings.

Viet My Restaurant appears to have closed for good in 2014, evicted from the food court by the building's owners because the sales were not high enough. There are other restaurants that serve "sate" or "sate pho", but I could not find any sate recipes that mentioned Viet My by name. No recipes, no copycats, and no "tastes-likes."á I did find an excellent site about Viet My here: MSG150. Thatá page has a lot of information about Viet My, including a photo of their menu. By enlarging the menu photo a bit, I was able to obtain this description of Viet My's sate:

Coconut milk base sauce with lemon grass, garlic, and sate chili, served with rice noodle, bean sprout, and peanut. pork, shrimp, chicken, beef, tofu.

Armed with this information, I searched for sate and sate pho recipes.á What I found most often were "sate sauce" recipes separate from "sate pho" recipes. No soup, just the chili sauce. I have no idea how to combine the two except for one recipe that I found, which is for a beef sate dish - "Mi Bo Sa Te" (with egg noodles) orá "Hu Tieu Sa Te B˛" (with wide rice noodles). See the recipe here: Ginger and Scotch.

Also see this video for another recipe: YouTube Satay Beef Noodle Soup.

If I were you, I'd probably try those first. If they're not exactly right, you might tweak them from memory to be closer to the Viet My dish. The issue with all of the recipes that I found is that the Viet My menu says that their sate sauce was made with a "coconut milk base", and none of the sate or sate sauce recipes that I found called for coconut milk, which is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian curries.

Recipes for just sate sauce:

Glebe Kitchen

Viet World Kitchen

Sweet Rehab

YouTube Sate Sauce Recipe

None of these is exactly what you requested, but maybe they can give you a starting point.

I will postá this for reader input as well.


Outstanding. Thank you very much. This is a great start.

The ginger and scotch recipe looks like a good place to start. They do use
egg noodles, and don't use coconut, but they seem to be pretty confident
and knowledgeable so I'll start there, maybe after the holidays.

The MSG150 photos bring it back for me, the painted tin ceiling, and of
course, that's what the dish looked like. I have always figured that "Viet
My Sate" simply stood for "House Combo" since it had the chicken beef and
shrimp, and I'm going to just assume that I would order fried egg rolls as
a side dish, which doesn't seem all that out of character. The coconut is
still a mystery, as I don't recall it being super coconut cream-y the way
a good Tom Kha or Khao Soi would be, so maybe the light milk plus the
peanut butter would be closest.

Thanks again. I'll keep poking around, and keep you posted as I make
(probably slow) progress, both in cooking and in researching. First order
of business is to swing by a Vietnamese grocer to see if I can find a jar
of the sate sauce and the Bo Kho spices as mentioned on gingerandscotch.



If you can't find sate sauce locally, Amazon has at least one brand: Amazon - Sate Sauce


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