Only a few days back from Hanoi and already longing for (good) spring rolls and banh xeo… Luckily the Thais like Vietnamese nosh as well, be it their own slightly different interpretation of it. Unfortunately Thai restaurants serving Vietnamese usually spin about four or five of the same dishes, most of which are illustrated below. (Oddly enough, pho, probably the most famous Vietnamese dish of all, is quite hard to find.) This usually makes for pretty predictable eating unless you find the odd place that really stands out, like I did today. The place is called Nong Khai (not this Nong Khai featured previously, although they have similiar menus), and has the best Vietnamese-Thai/Thai-Vietnamee I’ve come across yet. Witness:
We started with deep-fried spring rolls:
Pretty darn good–comperable to stuff I ate in Hanoi actually. Although these were filled with ground pork, and I prefer the Vietnamese crab-filled variety.
Next was another Thai-Vietnamese staple and the restaurant’s signature dish, naem nueang. This is a kind of grilled pork sausage:
served with chopped fruits and veggies (unripe banana, cucumber, garlic, unripe mango, chilies), rice paper, a peanut-based sauce and a tray of fresh herbs. You take a piece of lettuce and top it with the sausage and whatever else you fancy:
Again, this place did a really good version. The herbs were all fresh and clean, and the grilled sausage delicious. Usually I don’t care for the peanut sauce as it can often be very sweet, but this one was just right.
Next was banh xeo, what Thais call khanom bueang yuan:
Normally a tasteless oily sheet filled with ground pork, this one was delicious, the outside being both crispy and tasty, and the filling of bean sprouts and pork sausage very nice.
Lastly was kuay jap yuan, a thickish noodle soup with pork ribs and Vietnamese sausage, and topped with fresh herbs:
Again, much better than the standard. Looks like I know where I’ll be getting my quasi-Vietnamese fix.