Vietnamese Jicama Roll, Bò Bía
The little brother of the infamous Vietnamese Spring Roll a.k.a Goi Cuon, Bo Bia is one of the easiest snacks to find when walking down the street of Ho Chi Minh City. This spring roll packs a unique punch of flavor and texture in comparison. With rice paper on the outside, Jicama, Beef Sausage, Dried Shrimp, fried egg, fried shallots, and multiple herbs on the inside this little roll is not to be missed.
You can find this served with a peanut dipping sauce, don’t forget to add the chili for that added heat.
Vietnamese Rice Paper Salad with Dried Beef, Bánh Tráng Trộn
The question “What is your favorite Vietnamese Food?” is a staple during our Interview process at Back of the Bike Tours. Eighty percent of the time I am given the quick and enthusiastic answer of, “Banh Trang Tron!”
Like so many other dishes in culinary history, this dish started out just trying to solve a problem. What to do with all of that scrap rice paper? Well, make a salad out of it! Using thin strips of rice paper to compose the bulk of the salad, Dried beef, Dried Shrimp, Quail egg, Vietnamese Hot Mint, Julienned Green Mango, toasted peanuts, and fried shallots are tossed together with a loose, dark, sweetened soy sauce with kumquat juice.
After being thoroughly mixed, it’s tossed into a bag with disposable chop sticks shoved inside.
This concoction is a fun texture experience and bursting with a great combination of flavors. This dish is great for accenting the strong and unique flavor of Vietnamese Dried Beef.
Quail fried in Butter, Cút Chiên Bơ
It’s not difficult to miss the man on the street corner with a rotisserie over open flames. What might be difficult to miss is the small birds that are strung through the poles roasting over the flame. Every few minutes, the quail vendor, will brush these little birdies with his own oil or butter mixture that will usually contain a dried herb and spices to add a unique flavor to each vendors quail.
These quail can be taken to a whole another level when they are deep fried in sweet butter and served with a baguette. Fried Quail will normally come with pickles, Vietnamese Hot Mint, and Cucumber as an accompaniment to the dish.
Some might be grossed out by the serving of the quail head still attached to the neck. No worries, it has a great pop to it when you take it in one bite.
Pork and Pork Sausage Skewers, Heo Nướng – Hồ Lô Nướng
Grilled pork over an open fire! Count me in! These meat skewers are a great pre-game to hold you over before dinner.
Heo Nuong, Marinated Pork Skewers, find an excellent balance between chewy and tender. Pork comes into the markets around 4 AM here in Saigon. That is when the pork shoulder is purchased, then cut, and marinated for 6-8 hours in a mixture of honey and sesame seeds.
Holo Nuong, Sweet Pork Sausage balls, can’t help but leave a smile on your face when your teeth pop the roasted casing on the outside to find yourself enjoying a great balance of fat and sugar that is mixed into the sausage. Named for its resemblance of a round squash, these sweet morsels of meat are typically found in Southern Vietnam.
Don’t miss the chili sauce and pickles that are necessity in balancing out the rich meaty flavor. Also, a nice cold beer goes quite well.
Grilled Vietnamese Rice Paper, Banh Tráng Nướng
Hailing from the mountain area of Dalat and one of the newest to arrive in the food scene of Ho Chi Minh City, Banh Trang Nuong, has been dubbed the “Vietnamese Pizza”. Here are the basics for almost every Banh Tranh Nuong, Rice paper, open flame, egg, and cheese. Top this with anything from Dried beef, green onions, spicy chicken, or even take the desert approach and try some banana. This crispy snack is being served in little restaurants or right on the street so it isn’t hard to miss.