Vietnamese cuisine - exercise!

We’re a couple of weeks away from our next take-out and we’re thinking about pho. Not new to us and we have a local place we frequented pre CV-19. They are doing curbside pickup.

It’s been a while since we had a discussion about cuisine from Viet Nam. I thought I’d stir the pot (ha!) a bit. The menu for our local place is here https://saigonpalacerestaurantedgewater.com/menu/group-68 . What would you get and why? Emotional reasons are fine. Distasteful reactions to certain ingredients are fine. If you are from Viet Nam, served there, or have visit please take credit for your connection.

Ready? Go! grin

I’d get the crispy duck because I like duck but don’t think I’ve had it Vietnamese style.

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Summer rolls. Papaya salad. Because I always hope for excellent versions of these, and most of the time they elude me.

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I’d go for summer rolls and then one of the noodle dishes - to see how it compared with the dishes in Viet. restaurants in the UK. Certainly the menu at your place seems much more extensive than my local place, so I could easily change my mind over what to order.

For info:
http://www.vietguyrestaurant.co.uk/starter-menu.html

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Well Denise, when I have summer rolls perfected at home you’re invited. I’m getting better. I’m up to mediocre. grin

Looks like two more seats at the table for John and his bride when I get summer rolls up to standard. grin

There may have to be a prize for the person who travels furthest. Might be a jar of Branston pickle. grin

So far, John for the win with another menu!

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I’m so envious of your access to this restaurant. The best Vietnamese food we’ve experienced was in Paris. Looking at the menu, I too would choose the summer rolls. I love Pho, but since I’ve never had one, I’d choose the combination Bánh Mì and a mango Boba

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You mention pho, but I notice no one is recommending that. I find that the rice noodles don’t travel well, and I actually prefer the egg noodles anyway. Summer rolls are great in the summer, but it’s getting to be too cold for them for my taste.

And IMHO you can never go wrong with crispy duck. :slight_smile:

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Same. I would be interested in the duck if it was roasted in this Vietnamese style:

https://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/roasted-duck-fermented-bean-curd-vit-nuong-chao

I watched Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam series and this part is in one of the episodes. Couldn’t stand the bloke after only one episode, but there is lots of good food in the series.

Check out more recipes from the series if anyone is interested:

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Looks like our place doesn’t use fermented beans in the marinade unless “house spices” is code for fermented beans.

Luke Nguyen’s version surprises me with 10 minute prep time (not including marinade or cooking of course). I did find a giggle when the recipe specifies cooking over medium charcoal and the chef’s notes ramble on about the difference between conventional and convection ovens. It would appear that the “chef’s notes” are provided by some oblivious web designer who cuts and pastes without actually readying content. Not as egregious as BBC torturing the planet with bad rice, but SBS should up their game. grin

ETA: Must be some kind of DRM or other international issue as the SBS videos don’t work for me.

The video worked for me, now I’m craving duck even more! A couple of Thai restaurants near me have duck curry, I might have to splurge on take out.

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A place in my nearby city called Hunter’s BBQ used to do a variety of South Asian game curries - wild duck, venison, etc. So, that’s the Hunters bit of the name explained. The “BBQ” bit has never been explained - it’s never done anything remotely BBQ (either in the British or American understanding of it).

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Hmm. Maybe SBS uses an third party video server. That would trigger my Ad Blocker and stop it.

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I’d start with the summer fresh rolls, followed by the Spicy Lemongrass Beef Noodle Soup. Fresh rolls because light and refreshing, followed by something warm and spicy. I’m a little worried about the pork cake in the noodles, however. I wouldn’t like ground liver or offal or a combination in there…

I think this exercise is a bit sadistic, but I’ll play.

I do love what they are calling the Saigon Palace Special pho once it starts to rain here, but not when it’s hot, like it still is here. When it’s rainy, I get it to go, and most of it is packaged individually, and i can put it together the way I like. I sometimes end up reheating the broth, and the noodles are stuck together, but it works out just fine.

Here’s my favorite local places menu for extra points. They don’t have bahn mi.

http://www.pholeehoaphat.com/menu.html

I get #2 with an extra container for assembly.

I have had an amazing banh mi or two, and used to chase that high at every opportunity, but now choose low carb options when I can.

I often persue the ideal soft shell crab as well, but I am often disappointed, in part because they don’t travel well.

So I’m going to wish I had the fresh summer roll, then the salt and pepper chicken wings ( I am rarely disappointed with chicken wings), and finally the squid salad for later.

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Extra chairs for @shrinkrap and her other half. Hmm. Getting crowded. grin

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I love Vietnamese food, but don’t consider myself an expert. I am lucky to be in an area with a large Vietnamese immigrant population, so I feel we have an excellent selection of foods.

My top choices:

Banh mi - I prefer the regular combo with extra cilantro, pickled daikon/carrots and jalapenos but also love tofu versions I’ve tried locally. This to be is an excellent take out, on the go food. I’d go for any of these.

Any and all pho - noodle soups are my thing, so I eat this stuff year round. All versions always welcome. My fave is not on the menu - the Hue style one with pigs feet. Spicy and rich. Most local places know to separate noodle and soup, so it’s been great for take out for me.

#10 Caramelized Fish (haven’t tried with pork) - when done well, this dish is soo delicious and pairs super well with white rice. One of those dishes you might feel compelled to pour any leftover sauce onto your rice to eat it.

#11 “Hot & Sour soup” (Canh Chua) – I love this soup, and its Cambodian counterpart. I think their translation stinks though, and it’s nothing like what most people think of Chinese hot and sour soup.
I describe anh chua more as a slightly sweet, tart, and not that spicy but refreshing soup. Often ordered as an entree, and with rice, which is not how I prefer it.

#41 Papaya salad – I love the crunch to this. I prefer the spicy Thai version, but the Vietnamese papaya salad still provides a nice light, refreshing crunch as a starter.

#73 Grilled meat rice dish - If I’m super hungry I go for one of their rice dishes, usually pork chop and maybe something else. We often have combo dishes locally so you get a few extra items (e.g., pork skin, a Vietnamese meat loaf, or shrimp paste/bean curd skin). Love the savory lemon-grassy marinade on the grilled meats. FILLING!

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That’s probably key to good Vietnamese food. By comparision, the number of people in the UK who were born in Vietnam is about 25k. Our census doesnt count ethnic heritage in great detail so there arent records but let’s guess that the total population with Vietnamese heritage is, say, 60k. Most live in London, so their presence in other major communities is very limited.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold