Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fresh rolls

I was just reading a great blog post on Foodicles which was covering Viet food quite comprehensively, and I had a real ache for goi cuon, the fresh rolls that represent Vietnamese cuisine's most truly unique contribution to world gastronomy.
I have always loved them, but I must admit I was surprised when they became such popular and trendy items on the Sydney scene. I was perplexed when they started turning up on platters at book launches and on menus at chi-chi Eastern suburbs cafes. I had always imagined that these cold and sticky rolls would always remain in the realm of the specialist foodie. How wrong I was. Indeed, these days in Sydney you can pick them up at sandwich shops and buy really horrible versions at Korean sushi stores in the city (filled with lettuce! The horror!).
Though they are popular in Vietnam, I have also seen something similar (and nowhere near as tasty) served on the streets of suburban Bangkok years ago - maybe introduced there by Viet migrants?
Nha Trang style rolls are really trendy in Ho Chi Minh City right now, and I was always being taken to have them. These are similar to the goi cuon fresh rolls, but instead of being wrapped in thin rice wrapper, you get yummy barbecued pork pieces wrapped in a fatter rice noodle, making them much more substantial. This is a pic of Kien at a little Nha Trang style fresh roll eatery right near our house in Tan Binh.
I tend to be a little bit sensitive about prawns, so these days I normally only eat vegeterian goi cuon. These are just as tasty, and a whole lot easier on the stomach. At Duy Linh vegetarian restaurant in Cabramatta (a regular hangout of mine) they also make a delicious vegan version of bi cuon, a variation on the fresh roll that is normally filled with fried pigs skin! The veg. version is much more palatable!


Duy Linh Vegetarian
Shop 10, 117 John St
Cabramatta NSW 2166
Phone (02) 9727 9800

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