While living in Colorado, I worked for an all Vietnamese company that made wreaths and wall decorations out of red river birch and white willow twigs as their office manager. I worked there for 10 years and became very close to the people that I worked with. Often the owner of the company would treat me to lunch from his favorite Vietnamese restaurant. I always requested this dish. He once told me the name of it but darned if I could ever understand what he was saying, let alone how to spell it. Anyway, I just had to recreate this wonderful Vietnamese dish from memory because I have missed it so much. Here is what I have come up with.
- 6 -12 ounces dry rice noodles
- 1 lb lean boneless pork fillet
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1⁄2 cup carrot, julienned
- 1⁄2 cup cucumber, seeded and julienned
- 1⁄2 cup mint, chopped (cilantro is an acceptable substitute)
- 1⁄4 cup peanuts, chopped
- 3 prepared egg rolls or 3 spring rolls
- 1⁄4 cup nuoc cham sauce (Nuoc Cham Sauce - Dipping Fish Sauce)
- Partially freeze pork for easy slicing; slice thin.
- Marinade pork strips in the soy sauce and garlic powder for 1 hour.
- Stir fry or grill in grill wok the pork until no longer pink; set aside and keep warm.
- Heat egg rolls; cut into 1 inch pieces.
- Boil water in a large pot; add rice sticks and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, tasting for doneness; drain completely.
- Place a serving of rice sticks on a plate; top with 1/2 of the carrots, cucumbers, mint and cilantro.
- Top vegetables with pork strips and egg roll pieces.
- Sprinkle peanuts on top.
- Serve with a small dish of the Nuoc Mam Cham - Dipping Fish Sauce, recipe #151821 for dipping or spooning over the salad.
- Repeat for a second serving.
I've had this dish at the Vietnamese restaurant and it is very good. BUT, there are different sauces you can put in this salad to make it taste better. Mix in Hoisin sauce and Sriracha hot chili sauce to taste, for a sweet-spicy flavor. Also, I've had the salad with spring rolls, not egg rolls, and I like to dip the spring rolls in peanut sauce. You can make peanut sauce by mixing peanut butter with a little hoisin sauce and adding water to make it less denser. The hoisin sauce makes the sauce sweet so add this last and taste as you go along. Then sprinkle ground peanuts on the sauce. Also be sure to get the right kind of pork. In Asian markets they sell pork that is already sliced very thin, but be sure to get the darker redder pork with more fat in between than the lighter pork because otherwise it will be too dry.