This was intense on so many levels!
1. The amazingly accurate flavor this had to the Bun I love from Saigon Pearl in Irvine.
2. The time this took to put together
3. The pungent odor it left in my house for days!
First off, this tasted delicious! I love the Bun at Saigon Pearl at the Diamond Jamboree in Irvine, CA and theirs is better than this but I have to brag that I got so close on my first try here! I got the recipes from Hungry Huy’s blog. He is a vietnamese guy from SoCal who has beautiful photos and recipes of Vietnamese dishes. With a few tweaks I could master this!
Secondly, this took a lot of prep. Not so difficult but lots of steps and layers to making this right. I went to a vietnamese market in chinatown in NYC to get the bean thread and rice noodles, fish sauce, basil, peppers, egg roll wrappers and wood ear mushrooms. There is the whole egg roll process which involves a deep fryer and all the assembly in addition to the meat prep and marination the day before and then there is the assembly phase at the end. It is all totally worth it but not a quick and easy dinner. I didn’t care. I just wanted to see if I could do it and I did. It was really yummy with great flavors all over the place and very fresh. It is an interesting juxtaposition of healthy herby greens and vegetables with the indulgent fried egg roll. It is also a mixture of cold fresh noodley salad with hot egg roll and broiled marinated meat. Its a party in your mouth!
Lastly, the fish sauce gives this the authentic Vietnamese flavor you recognize but you will also get that vietnamese fish smell to come home to for a few days. The fish sauce is in the pork marinade with shallots and garlic. So that smells up the frig while that marinates overnight. Then the dipping sauce/dressing has the fresh lime, garlic, sugar, chili and more fish sauce. This is what makes it taste so good. The fish sauce with sugar and lime is a cool combo but I think I need to tone it down next time so it doesn’t overwhelm my apartment. Still totally worth it for the flavor and the experience.