Cooking Eorzea | Feature Image

Cooking Eorzea | Feature Image

                           “Has your journey been good? Has it been worthwhile?”

Life has been insanely busy since I last had the time to write a Cooking Eorzea column. I was invited by SQUARE ENIX to attend and cover the FINAL FANTASY XVI Pre-Launch Celebration. I attended and reviewed The Game Awards 10-Year Concert with Fireworks. I also attended the U.S. Open, and I watched the entire golf major in person. When I wasn’t in Los Angeles, I was in San Francisco. I attended the NIS America’s Press Tour, demoed two games and conducted a game director interview. On top of that, I somehow managed to include an extended visit to my family in there while also completing the Endwalker expansion. As I write this week’s Cooking Eorzea column, I am one Main Story Quest (MSQ) away from completing the storyline through the current update, Patch 6.4. In the coming weeks, I am attending several more industry events that I am ridiculously excited about.

I first saw that quote a few weeks ago, and it has stuck in my head. Has my journey – not just in journalism, but in life – been good? Has it been worthwhile?

For journalism, the answer is yes. I have met people who make amazing games that I absolutely enjoy with Love, Eorzean Style. I am able to write about the games – like Lunar and FINAL FANTASY – that I idolized as a kid. I still want to be willing to make the choices Alex from Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete made at the end of his journey, and FINAL FANTASY XI Online: Chains of Promathia expansion shaped who I am as a person more than almost anything else out there.

Moving out here for a relationship that didn’t work out is definitely one of the lowest parts of my life, and I can safely say that that isn’t a good part of my journey. It has fueled my writing (especially Cooking Eorzea!) though, and it has made me experience places that I would never have spent much time in otherwise. Romance has, in general, been the lowest parts of my life every time I’ve experienced it so far, but I am trying to counterweigh that as much as possible with good stuff like activities, friends, writing, books, games, and more.

Has my journey been good? Has it been worthwhile? Not all of it has been good, not all of it has been worthwhile. There are days still when I absolutely want to say ‘no’ to both questions. But I think I can say, on balance in general, ‘yes’.

If you’ve missed an installment of Cooking Eorzea, you can check out all the prior recipes here.

Recipe of the Week

Recipe 36 from The Official FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook is for the Othard region Nagxian specialty, Bahn Xeo. With a difficulty rating of medium, my first thought was that it seems to be fairly similar to how to make an omelet, but with a wildly different batter and other ingredients. I also have never worked with fresh shrimp before, and so this would be a completely new experience for me.

Here is what the Bahn Xeo dish is supposed to look like:

Cooking Eorzea | Bahn Xeo Professional Photo.
Image courtesy of Insight Editions.

Featured Ingredient of the Week

Cooking Eorzea | Thai Chili
Photo by author.

This week’s Cooking Eorzea featured ingredient is…Thai chilis!

Thai chili peppers are grown across Southeast Asia and are frequently used in many different types of dishes. They are small, but range between 50,000 and 1000 Scoville units. I found myself being slightly paranoid about touching them, since I was worried about the oils getting into my eyes and making them burn. When I was cooking with them, in fact, I washed my hands several times afterwards and I refused to touch them directly after I cut them so that I could minimize the risk to myself with them.

My Cooking Attempt

My first week back to Cooking Eorzea, and I picked something of a doozy of a recipe to make with a lot of ingredients that I have never used before:

Cooking Eorzea | Ingredients Shot
Photo by author.

First, I had to make the Nước Chấm out of water, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, a Thai chili, and garlic cloves. I started off making the Nước Chấm by mincing up the garlic cloves.

Cooking Eorzea | Minced Garlic.
Photo by author.

I then sliced up the Thai chili. Even though it is small, it was DEFINITELY quite strong and shouldn’t be underestimated! It reminded me quite a bit of Lord Lolorito.

Cooking Eorzea | Thai Chili sliced.
Photo by author.

I then added the water, sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice together.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding in the wet ingredients.
Photo by author.

I added in the Thai chili and garlic cloves, and then whisked all the ingredients together until it was smoothly blended.

Cooking Eorzea | Whisking the ingredients together.
Photo by author.

Once the sugar was fully dissolved, I put the Nước Chấm in the refrigerator in an air-tight container while I turned my attention to the rest of the ingredients.

Cooking Eorzea | Nước Chấm in the refrigerator.
Photo by author.

While the Nước Chấm chilled, I decided to peel and devein the fresh shrimp I picked up. There was shrimp that was already peeled and deveined available for purchase, but they were frozen, smaller, and more expensive than the shrimp I could buy fresh. Plus, I had never done it before and so this was a new cooking skill for me! First, I slit the shell and wiggled it off of the shrimp.

Cooking Eorzea | Removing the shrimp shell.
Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Shell removed.

I then used my deveining tool to slice along both sides of the shrimp and remove the veins. As I went along, I actually got quicker and quicker at doing this!

Cooking Eorzea | Removing shrimp veins.
Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Finished shrimp.

In a large bowl, I added in the rice flour, cornstarch, turmeric, ground fennel, cumin seeds and salt together.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding together dry ingredients for the batter.
Photo by author.

I then finely chopped up three scallions (aka green onions!) and added them in.

Cooking Eorzea | Slicing up green onions.
Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding scallions into the batter.

I then added in the coconut milk and the water.

Cooking Eorzea | Coconut milk.
Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding in water.

I then whisked all the batter ingredients together and set it aside for an hour.

Cooking Eorzea | Whisking the batter together.
Photo by author.

I then turned my attention to the filling. First, I julienned carrots before setting them aside.

Cooking Eorzea | Julienning a carrot.
Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Julienned carrots.

I then sliced up the onion.

Cooking Eorzea | Slicing an onion.
Photo by author.

I then cut and tore up the fresh cilantro and mint.

Cooking Eorzea | Fresh cilantro.
Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Fresh mint.

I then tore up the fresh Thai basil and the fresh cabbage and set them both aside.

Cooking Eorzea | Tearing up Thai basil.
Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Tearing up fresh lettuce.

I measured out the bean sprouts (plus an extra handful!) next.

Cooking Eorzea | Bean sprouts measured out.
Photo by author.

I then sliced up the bacon and cut the shrimp in half. Cutting the shrimp in half was HARD to do.

Cooking Eorzea | Slicing bacon.
Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Sliced shrimp.

I then assembled eight portions of the Bahn Xeo filling. I portioned out the shrimp, bacon, onion slices, julienned carrots, and bean sprouts as evenly as I could.

Cooking Eorzea | Filling ingredients that are portioned out.
Photo by author.

I then added a tablespoon of canola oil to a frying pan and I swirled it around in the pan after it heated up.

Cooking Eorzea | Heating up canola oil.
Photo by author.

I then added in one portion of bacon and shrimp and let it cook for a minute. I then flipped it over and cooked the other side for a minute. For very obvious reasons, it was important that the shrimp be cooked through before I would end up eating it!

Cooking Eorzea | Frying the bacon and shrimp.
Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Flipping the bacon and shrimp.

Once the bacon and shrimp were done, I added in the carrots and onions, and then poured in a quarter-cup of the batter into the pan. Once I poured it in, I quickly swirled it around the inside of the pan to ensure that it was fully coated.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding in batter.
Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Swirling batter around a pan.
I covered the pan up and let it cook for three minutes.

Cooking Eorzea | Cooking the Bahn Xeo.
Photo by author.

Once the timer was up, I topped the dish with the mint, cilantro, basil, and bean sprouts before folding it in half.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding in fresh ingredients on top of the dish.
Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Folding the dish in half.

Looking at the dish, I realized that the Bahn Xeo was a bit too big…and looking at the recipe, I realized that I used a pan that was WAY too big. I took another portion and redid the final steps of the dish with a smaller pan.

Cooking Eorzea | Redoing the Bahn Xeo.
Photo by author.

Once I pulled the Bahn Xeo out of the pan, I placed it on top of a sheet of rice paper, topped it with a helping of the Nước chấm, and set it with some Thai basil, a few fresh leaves of lettuce, and some more bean sprouts. And here is the final Bahn Xeo dish! I added some FINAL FANTASY XVI decorations for this week’s Cooking Eorzea final dish photo, as it is the first column that I’ve written since the game came out.

Cooking Eorzea | Bahn Xeo Final Dish
Photo by author.

I am going to be up front: the Nước chấm smelled AWFUL, and I know it was completely due to the fish sauce. However, the dish was AMAZING. The batter, mixed with the Nước chấm and the fresh ingredients, had a distinct savory flavor that the bacon and the shrimp only enhanced. This week’s Cooking Eorzea dish had probably the most unique flavor profile that I have experienced yet, and it just needs to be experienced to be believed!


If I was to do this dish again, I would absolutely use the correct pan size from the start. What tipped me off that I was using the wrong pan was that the ingredients seem too far spread out and the Bahn Xeo was way too big for what seemed to be a regular portion. I still don’t love the smell of fish sauce – and I haven’t from any dish that I’ve used the fish sauce in so far – but it is something that I was told that I will get used to as time goes on. Overall, I would absolutely make this dish again!

Rolling right into this week’s ‘thank yous’! I want to thank Victoria Rosenthal for writing The Ultimate FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook. I also want to thank the staff over at Insight Editions for giving me permission to use the photos from their book to show how the various dishes look like. Furthermore, I owe Brandon Rose a special thanks for creating the logo for this series, and you should check him and his works out over on Twitter.

Finally, I want to thank both Hiromichi Tanaka and Naoki Yoshida for producing FINAL FANTASY XIV Online in both iterations of the game. I am one mission away from being completely caught up on MSQ, and I am finding myself falling deeper and deeper in love with Eorzea with the more time that passes.

Next Week

Next week’s dish is going to be Battered Fish from La Noscea! I actually am going to be using grill to deep fry the fish and potato fries with, since I am not doing that in my home. So it will also be my first truly remote Cooking Eorzea column since I used the grill to make Tuna Miq’abob back in Week 16!

So please come back for it then 🙂

Have you made Bahn Xeo before? What are some video games that mean a lot to you?

Let us know in the comments below!

Quentin H.
I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it.