Tag Archives: summer rolls

Di An Di

My wife and I went here with another couple, since we had been hearing such great things about the food.

We started with some nice cocktails. My favorite was the mezcal cocktail “smoke between your thighs.”

The best bite of the night, for me, was probably this take on a summer roll.

There’s BBQ pork inside, but also a crunchy turmeric crepe (banh xeo) for texture. Fresh herbs, veg and rice noodles inside round this out to a perfectly balanced starter.

Next up was fried pig tails.

These were great little morsels of deliciousness. The acidic pickles on top cut the fat perfectly.

Now on to the noodles. First, the dry chicken noodles. These were my favorite of the three we tried.

Very aromatic and spicy from the curry leaves and crispy onions. Awesome.

The soups were a bit of alet down, however. The pho was underwhelming, and the bun bo hue was just too light and lacked the meaty and spicy flavors to which I am accustomed.

The bun cha was nice. These are pork meatballs wrapped in spinach and served in a sweet and spicy garlic and fish sauce broth, which you eat with rice noodles.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to come back, but if you stick to the apps and those dry noodles, you’ll be a happy customer.

68 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Hanoi House

My wife and I went to Hanoi House with some friends. I wasn’t expecting such a great showing of Vietnamese food, as NYC is notoriously not that great for the cuisine. I was pleasantly surprised.

We started with a beef tongue sandwich that we split among the four of us. I didn’t shoot it, but man was it delicious. The tongue was braised and super tender, and dressed with chili, lime, cilantro, and a coconut curry type sauce. Just the right balance of savory, spicy and sweet. A must order.

We also shared an order of summer rolls, which were filled with shrimp, pork, herbs, and crispy egg roll skin (all inside the soft rice paper wrap). These were the best I’ve had in NYC (I also failed to get a photo of these – apologies).

The pho was fantastic. The broth was more robust and murky than other places I’ve been. While many pho bowl slingers strive for a clear, almost consomme-like broth, this place embraced the opposite. I could taste the herbs and spices that simmered for hours.

I added the marrow and braised oxtail into the mix, which upped the cost by $8, but it was totally worth it. This is currently my favorite bowl in NYC. Hands down.

My wife ordered this beautiful and delicious lobster noodle dish, which also had some pork roll in the mix as well. The noodles were perfectly cooked, and the portion size was generous, especially considering it was a good sized lobster.

I highly recommend this place for anyone looking to get their Vietnamese food fix.

119 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009

Madame Vo

Madame Vo is a Vietnamese joint on 10th Street near 2nd Avenue.

My wife and I have been itching to go, since we have been on a quest to find good Vietnamese food in NYC since the early 2000’s. I think we finally found it here, so let me give you the rundown of our meal.

First, Autumn Rolls. These are soft rice wrappers filled with jicama, egg, sausage and shrimp. The brilliant thing about these is that they’re sauced with a brush of hoisin prior to wrapping. Just a little hit of sri racha and you’re all set. They’re delicious.

Next up, the “Madame Pho” soup. This is served with short rib.

Awesome deep, rich beefy flavor. No sauces needed whatsoever. The broth is on point. And the meats are all high quality. It has a variety of cuts like flank, brisket, meatballs, eye round and marrow. But that short rib! So good. And the noodles were cooked perfectly.

The Bun Bo Hue, however, was even better. It’s very hard to find good pho in NYC, but it’s even harder to find good bun bo hue.

So many times, bun bo hue noodles are overcooked and fall apart when you try to pick them up with chopsticks. Here, they are nicely cooked and hold up to pulling and grabbing. The broth has a great pungent richness, bright with herbs and lime, and really deeply satisfying. Just the right amount of heat, too.

Last, the rib eye Bo Luc Lac, or “Shaking/Shaken Beef.”

I’ve often seen this made with lean cuts like sirloin and sometimes filet. This is the first time I’ve seen it made with rib eye, and also the first time I’ve seen it served with an egg.

The result is a nice sticky sweet molasses flavor, with a great sear from the sizzling cast iron skillet. The fat rendered out nicely, making for a delicious sauce sludge through which to drag your rice. I really enjoyed this dish, and it’s a perfect example of what a good chef can do with a choice grade cut of beef when he – in this case, Jimmy – knows how to coax out great flavor. 7/10.

For dessert, we shared a nice avocado shake. While pricey at $8 (avocados are expensive these days), its filling and well made. Not too sweet, and super creamy.

212 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003

Nha Trang Centre

I am stuck waiting to see whether I have to serve on a jury down here, but the plus side is that there are some decent cheap eats joints nearby in Chinatown.

This is my second or third time eating here. My wife and I used to live around the block from about 2006-2009, and during that time was probably the last time we went.

NTC sign

I grabbed two of my four standard favorite Vietnamese items for lunch: pho and banh cuon. The other two are summer rolls (goi cuon) and spring rolls (cha gio).

The pho was a bit lacking in flavor. I missed the robust punch that should be associated with the broth. The noodles and beef were both of good quality though, and both the basil and the bean sprouts were nice and fresh. I generally order the Pho Tai, which contains just slides eye round meat, not the beef balls, tendon, tripe or brisket. So that could be why the broth was less flavorful. However I doubt they use different cooking vessels to create the base pho stock/broth, so diner beware.

NTC pho crop

The banh cuon, on the other hand, was pretty good. For those who don’t know what this is, the menu calls it “Vietnamese ravioli.” It’s wide, flat rice noodles that are rolled or filled with seasoned chopped meat inside – typically pork – and then topped with fish sauce, crispy fried onion, scallions, and thick slices of a processed kind of pork roll that’s similar to a bologna style lunch or deli meat. That description may sound weird to your western eyes/ears, but I assure you it’s good. Here, it was served on top of bean sprouts and some chopped lettuce.

NTC banh cuon

Those two items, plus a beer, came to $21 with tax and tip included. Pretty great.

I was so pumped on the fact that I was back down in our old neighborhood with easy access to cheap Vietnamese food that I went back for dinner. There was this pork rice dish that caught my eye while I was there: Com Suon Bi Cha.

NTC pork

NTC egg cake

This is barbecued pork chop, shredded pork and steamed egg cake with white rice. The shredded pork was a mixture of gelatinous bits and roast pork, which go nicely with the rice for texture. The thin-sliced BBQ pork was delicious and exactly what I expected. It was tasty and had no gristled fat, with an awesome lemongrass and charred grill flavor. The rice was a tiny grain that absorbed the fish sauce nicely, and the egg cake contained a mash of what I assume was fish sauce and more ground pork meat. It came with carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber and tomato.

I also grabbed an order each of Cha Gio.

NTC spring rolls

NTC spring roll wrapped

The spring rolls were crispy. I think they had more mushroom and veggies than pork inside, but I didn’t mind because all the fixings were nice and fresh. You wrap these fuckers in lettuce and then fill with cucumber, pickled daikon, carrot and mint leaves. Then you dip that shit in fish sauce and hot sauce. Delicious.

And that’s it. Tomorrow I’ll be hitting either another Vietnamese joint or a dumpling place. Nha Trang Centre is definitely good for a Vietnamese food fix. I’d skip the pho, but the other stuff is good.

148 Centre St
New York, NY 10013