August 28, 2007
24 Pasteur Street
Da Nang, Vietnam
Bun Thit Nuong (10,000 VND)
Banh Xeo (9,000 VND)
Following the staff retreat, The Astronomer and I spent several days in Da Nang visiting EMW programs and beneficiaries. Ba Ngoc is located a hop, skip, and a jump away from the office. We bounced in there for a quick bite to eat before heading off to see good works.
The Astronomer had one of his favorite dishes—bun thit nuong—vermicelli noodles topped with grilled pork, herbs, lettuce, and nouc mam. Vietnamese BBQ isn’t saucy like Alabama ‘cue. The typical marinade consists of shallots, garlic, fish sauce, salt, sugar, and black pepper. The result of these simple ingredients is a smoky meat that’s sweet and delicious. I love how the smell of grilled meats fills the air outside restaurants serving up this style of ‘cue.
Note to self: learn how to make thit nuong ASAP upon returning to the states.
I ordered three banh xeo, which are often referred to as Vietnamese crepes. These “crepes” consist of rice flour, unsweetened coconut milk, tumeric, sugar, salt, and water and are stuffed with shrimp, pork, onions, and bean sprouts.
When my grandma cooks banh xeo, she prepares them in a huge frying pan, which results in a dinner plate-sized crepe. The ones served at Ba Ngoc were itty bitty in comparison and contained little meat (one shrimp, one piece of pork), but were yummy nevertheless. The banh xeo were crispy around the edges, just the way I like ’em.
Back at home we pour some nouc mam on top of the banh xeo and dig in, but in these here parts, the banh xeo is wrapped in rice paper, lettuce, and herbs and dipped in nouc mam. I must admit that wrapping the banh xeo is pretty good, but it’s just too much work! I enjoyed the banh xeo so much that I sought out more the following day.