No 29 of my fav things of Cabramatta
Do-it-yourself rice paper rolls as opposed to mixing all the ingredients in a bowl is a more social way of eating. I guess it’s akin to opting for the kebab plate vs. kebab roll. I regard this as leisure food whereas the mixed bowl version is convenient and quick (no dirty fingers).
I don’t have a picture of the bowl version here but imagine the grilled meats on top of a bed of loose vermicelli with the salad underneath. The dipping fish sauce is then poured over the noodles as oppsed to dipping.
Ok let’s talk DIY rice paper rolls. It can be intimidating, the good thing about choosing a restaurant that specialises in it, is that you’ll probably have some other patron near by demonstrating how to eat it.
In summary: Make a roll.
1. You will be given dry hard rice paper rolls and a bowl of hot water. Dip (to moisten) the rice paper, be quick or it dissolves!
2. Add a piece of vermicelli square. Note: this is a different version of vermicelli than that used in the mixed bowl version. This is called banh hoi (“bun hoy”) which is finer and thinner. It is steamed with some cornflour to create these rubbery little rectangles. I think its very clever to minimises mess. It also takes a lot more work to prepare (than loose vermicelli), and thus the slightly higher price for DIY dishes.
Top with salad (bean sprouts, cucumber, mint leaves, herbs) and grilled meat. Featured here is the grilled pork, thit nuong.
3. Fold in the sides and roll it up.
4. Ready to eat. Simply dip into fish sauce (small bowl) and bite into your masterpiece (which hopefully looks better than mine!…I was particularly hungry that day and DIY are not meant to be quick work lunches).