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A question for Vietnamese food fans...

My friend was recently telling me that when he was home in Texas one of his old friends took him to a place to get a Vietnamese dish that he said he has only been able to find at the restaurant in Texas and in LA. We're now looking for it in NYC and I was hoping all you chowhounders could help out. From the way it has been described, the dish is basically rice vermicelli served with various types of meat on top in addition to little tortilla-like pancakes. On the side is mint, lettuce and a light, flavorful dipping sauce. The idea is you create little sandwich wraps and dip them in the sauce (along with a spicy sauce). I may be betraying my extreme lack of knowledge regarding Vietnamese cuisine, perhaps this is a very common dish at restaurants, but I don't know what it's called. Please help!! Thanks in advance!

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  1. I've had that several places in NY, try Pho Pasteur (used to be New Pasteur?) on Baxter. Here's the link to their menu http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

    1. "Bun" means rice vermicelli, so if you see that in the name you're on the right track. I believe Cong Ly, Pho Grand and Nam Son might have that dish.

      Cong Ly Hester St near Chrystie
      Pho Grand, 277 Grand St (212) 965-5366
      Nam Son, 245 Grand St 212-966-6507

      1. When you say pancake, is it like a crepe or clear white?

        1 Reply
        1. re: csw

          I believe more crepe-like, but I could double check

        2. I think what the OP is referring to is a type of summer roll platter, where you get the wrappers and fillings separately and assemble on your own.

          I had it all the time in Vietnamese restaurants in Ottawa, but I haven't been able to find it here, mostly because I don't know what it's called. (They call it "festival platter" in Ottawa)

          1. Im not sure if its the same thing your referring to. I've only had it at my sisters (who is married to a vietnamese). She mixes rice flour+corn starch, coconut milk, curry powder and water together. Then she heats a skillet and pours the batter thin until done. The fillings is made ahead of time. Then you assemble it into the crepe. Its not a summer roll because that uses rice wrappers. I just call it vietnamese pancakes haha.

            2 Replies
            1. re: csw

              oops wrong thing. though that sounds pretty darn good too.

              1. re: csw

                I think you're referring to banh cuon. My mom (who is Vietnamese) makes that too - it's so good. She also calls it Vietnamese pancakes! Now I'm hungry.

              2. hi - i'm vietnamese and from houston. what you are looking for is:

                1) "banh hoi" or "bun" (both these words mean noodles)
                2) your choice of meat "nuong" (grilled):
                a)"nem nuong" (grilled ground pork balls)
                b)"thit bo nuong" (grilled slices of marinated pork)
                c)"ga nuong" (grilled marinated chicken)
                d)"tom nuong" (grilled marinated shrimp)

                this dish always come with "banh trang" (rice paper) where you wrap the lettuce/mints/carrots into a burrito and dip into their "nuoc mam" (sweet fish sauce)

                hope this helps! unfortunately, i've been to most of the vietnamese restaurants in manhattan, including overpriced colonnade, and they are ALL subpar ... you have to go to houston, orange county, or san jose for truly authentic yummy in my tummy vietnamese cuisine!!!

                6 Replies
                1. re: abs

                  I agree, I never liked any of the vietnamese restaurants here and always object to it. Its too americanized. However in OC and San jose I can never get sick of it. I'm missing it.

                  1. re: abs

                    abs, thanks so much! That's exactly what I was talking about! I guess I may just have to get to Houston sometime soon...

                    1. re: Chef Z

                      Then piccola was right, that is the summer rolls. Ive had this in pho bang and nha trang. They set a table grill in the center to grill your raw meats and shrimp with garnishes, veggies and rice wrappers alongside.

                      1. re: csw

                        Do you know if they make a vegetarian version (with either tofu or mock meats)?

                        1. re: piccola

                          I don't recall a vegetarian option listed on the menu. We have a devout buddhist relative, she just rolled vermicelli with veggies and that was it for her. And veggies are unlimited. Perhaps you can ask the waiter if the kitchen is willing to grill a side dish of firm tofu for your wrap? I've never seen mock meat listed in a vietnamese menu. But i could be wrong.

                          1. re: csw

                            i've seen it a lot back home, but not around here

                            i have no issues with ordering a side of tofu if necessary. thanks!

                    1. Every Vietnamese restaurant I've been to has that dish. If you don't like the restaurants in Manhattan, do some reading on the outerborough board. There's a large Vietnamese population in Brooklyn and a consequent number of Vietnamese restaurants, some of them quite good.