My favourite summer dish is having bun cha gio at home. Although it’s not summer yet, we’ve had our first bun cha gio of the year – and it’s only going to get better from here.
The filling for Mom’s spring rolls is made of shredded cabbage, carrots, garlic and onions. (If you want to read more about making the filling and wrapping the spring rolls, just click the links.)
These noodles are the best for bun. Once the rice noodles are boiled, you’re supposed to rinse them under cold water (to stop the cooking process) and then squeeze out the water. In doing so, you divide the noodles into individual portions. I’m not a fan of the noodles they serve in pho joints. I find them too firm and wiry.
These fresh herbs: sweet Thai basil (hung que), spearmint, and Vietnamese cilantro (rau ram).
Roasted and crushed peanuts – with a mortar and pestle – also need to added. In our family, one of the younger kids usually does this.
There was a stir-fry of beef and onion as well.
Everyone likes to eat it a different way. In our house, it’s like eating chicken rice – it’s rare to find two people who like to eat it the same way. For instance, Mom would just cut the spring rolls into her bowl with the kitchen shears. I don’t like my spring rolls to get soggy in the fish sauce though. Instead, I leave them on the side and take bites as I eat. Our homemade version is much better than the stuff you find in restaurants. I'd rather eat an awesome bowl of bun cha gio only once a year than eat a bunch of mediocre or terrible versions.
A drizzle of nuoc mam, a fish sauce dressing made of vinegar, sugar, water and usually minced garlic, completes the bowl. After a good mix, the bun cha gio ready to be enjoyed.
I love how every bite of the bun cha gio is different. Fireworks of flavours go off like the scene in Ratatouille. The herbs, the roasted peanuts, the fragrance of sesame oil (from the spring rolls), and the mild nuoc mam makes the dish so exciting. All the different textures also play well; the soft noodles go so well with the crisp lettuce and crunchy spring rolls.
One last bit of spring roll left. Nom nom nom nom!