Do you think cool, crisp, and refreshing when you think of Asian food? If not, it’s time to begin exploring the food of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. When dining out, we’ve even surprised some of our dedicated ethnic-food-loving friends when we add a selection of refreshing summer items to our table’s order.
In their treasure of a cookbook, Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia, authors Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid talk about the salads they found along the Mekong river.
“Salads are such a basic part of eating along the Mekong that they can almost be considered a staple food. They can be as simple as a wedge of parboiled cabbage and a plate of fresh cucumber slices or as elaborate as a mixed array of greens and herbs flavored with a dressing of succulent fried minced pork and a hot-sour-salty fresh dressing ...”
Here's the take out version from Pho Basil. However, if you are not near their Back Bay/Symphony location, you can find a food truck take on this dish from Bon Me.
They call it noodle salad. Wikipedia says the name, “literally means ‘rice noodles [with] grilled meat.'" At Bon Me and local restaurants, you may have the choice of topping it with the pork, lemongrass chicken, tofu, or beef.
The next time you visit a great Vietnamese restaurant consider adding a salad to your order!
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Words: Penny Cherubino (adapted from one of her Fresh & Local newspaper columns)
Photos: ©2010- 2015 Penny & Ed Cherubino