|Table for 4|
If you want to track down this particular bánh cuốn stall, it can be found in the side streets round the back of the Hotel de L'Opera in Hanoi. Closer to home, Café East in Surrey Quays also serves this dish.
I just loved the contrasting flavours and textures of this dish: briny, crispy, crunchy, soft and herby all in the same mouthful. My tip is to eat cơm hến relatively quickly because 1) you don't want the crispy pork rinds to soften too much, and 2) you might score seconds if you finish first. There's also a version of this dish served with rice vermicelli in place of the rice called bún hến. Both dishes originate from Huế, and are widely available in restaurants that specialise in the exquisite cuisine of that city.
|Bánh căn cooker|
Bánh mì is taking London by storm at the moment, although this means that the likes of EAT and Pret are getting in on the act. Obviously, you should steer clear of these chain impostors, and instead pay a visit to the likes of Bánhmì11 and City Càphê to sample these Vietnamese baguettes.
In this case, phở cuốn is made with a rice noodle sheet that can also be used to make phở noodles, and the filling consists of beef, greens and herbs. I liked these, but not as much as the more delicate bánh cuốn or the ubiquitous gỏi cuốn (summer rolls).
And so ends my round-up of my favourite (non-noodle) dishes of Vietnam. But what about you guys out there? Did I miss out your favourite? And what about your favourite places in Vietnam? I'd love to hear from you.