We’ve stumbled into this shed at 46A Dinh Cong Trang Street in District 1 before. It’s famous for Banh xeo, but we’re not here for that today. Most folk tucking in here do go for the standard dish this gaff is named after, but there are some other Saigon snack sensations hidden away on the menu that are also well worth checking out. Bi cuon is a pig skin filled rice paper wrap decked out in a few herbs and wotnot. It comes with a nuoc mam (fish sauce) dip rammed with chopped carrot and raddish.
OK – I’ll agree, pig skin doesn’t sound like a winner. But when it’s stuffed inside that little bundle above and heading stomachwards it makes a lot more sense believe me. It’s one of my fave Vietnamese snack foods. More often that not this is the dish we order and peck at while we ponder what to plump for next. It’s savoury, slightly crunchy, probably healthy and it’s very light. This restaurant serves some of the best I’ve tried in Saigon. It’s a recommended must try for snackaholics.
Next up is Bo la lot. It’s a dish I’ve been meaning to blog for yonks and yonks. I’ve tried it on the street, at Liberty restaurant on Dong Khoi street and at Ben Thanh Market. This take is the best I’ve ingested… thus far. It’s rolled minced beef, bit of sugar and nuoc mam all wrapped up in a la lot leaf. the leaf looks like this on the bush and apparently it’s good for "controlling hiccups, diarrhea, and nausea" Oh and it tastes rather scrummy too. It’s a wrap and dip chap. The wrap comes via rice paper, green banana,
bun (vermicelli noodles) etc. and the dip is that feisty brew below. Not sure what goes into that festering pot I’m afraid, but it’s quite pungent and some folk choose to use the nuoc mam instead. Personally I flirt between the two.
I was hustling from A to B through lunch today and didn’t think to note down prices. But, the tab, with one Banh xeo, drinks for two and around eight wet towels (please… don’t ask) came to 91,000VD. Rather than talk too much bollocks about this dish, I have an eye on what looks like a very interesting street Bo la lot and I promise to blog it up as soon as it’s entered my digestive tract.