Great food Friday night at Saigon Grill! Trish and I ate the best Bun I’ve ever had at Saigon Grill near Union Square. I used to eat bun all the time when I lived in Orlando and Tampa that was good but I never found a good place in Jacksonville. My friend Dan turned me on to this place in NYC. Saigon Grill is very nice inside and the prices are low. It’s three block south of union square on University Place. Trisha had Bun with chicken skewers and I had bun with a shrimp spring roll and we shared shrimp summer rolls and a glass of plum wine. We got out of there for 36 bucks. Bun is rice vermicelli served in a large bow and traditionally it is topped with pork but you can put any meat on it or just vegetables It’s garnished with cucumbers, carrots, mint, and a sweet vinegar type sauce called fish sauce.
Unfortunately, I just found out that the owners of the two Saigon Grill restaurants in Manhattan were arrested Wednesday on more than 400 criminal charges, including violating minimum-wage laws, falsifying business records and defrauding the state’s unemployment insurance system. more>> But I hope this means that the place is legit now. I would not want to support them if they are still treating their workers poorly.
From Wikipedia: Bun thit nuong (Bún thịt nướng): thin rice vermicelli served cold with grilled marinated pork chops and nước chấm (fish sauce, served with julienned daikon and carrot). A similar Northern version is bún chả with grilled pork meatballs in placed of grilled pork chops.
(Vietnamese salty-sour dipping sauce)
Nuoc cham is the all-purpose Vietnamese condiment served with and poured over many dishes. Its salty-sour flavor is wonderfully bright and fresh. Nuoc cham will keep for about a week in the refridgerator.
- Water — 1/4 cup
- Fish sauce — 1/4 cup
- Lime juice — 3 tablespoons
- Unseasoned rice vinegar, unseasoned — 2 tablespoons
- Sugar — 2 tablespoons
- Garlic, crushed — 1 clove
- Chile pepper, sliced into rounds — 1
- Carrot, shredded or julienne — 1 tablespoon
- In a large bowl, mix together the water, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolve. Adjust seasoning, adding more lime juice if too sweet, more sugar if too sour and more fish sauce if it needs more salt.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients and let set for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to mingle.
- If you use seasoned (sweetened) rice vinegar, cut the amount of sugar in the recipe to 1 tablespoon.
Fish sauce is a condiment that is derived from fish that have been allowed to ferment. It is an essential ingredient in many curries and sauces. Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in Vietnamese, Thai, Lao, Cambodian, and Filipino cuisine and is used in other Southeast Asian countries. In addition to being added to dishes during the cooking process, fish sauce can also be used in mixed form as a dipping condiment, and it is done in many different ways by each country mentioned for fish, shrimp, pork, and chicken. In southern China, it is used as an ingredient for soups and casseroles.
Bún Thịt Nướng
(Vietnamese rice noodles with bbq pork and vegetables)
Bun thit nuong is a simple and favorite meal in Vietnam consisting of cold rice vermicelli mixed with fresh vegetables and topped with hot barbecued pork. Served with nuoc cham sauce, it is a good summer dish–light, lowfat, healthy and cool.
- Pork (see notes), partially frozen, then thinly sliced — 1 pound
- Shallots or scallions, minced — 3
- Garlic, minced — 2 cloves
- Thai or serrano chile peppers, minced — 1-3
- Sugar — 2 teaspoons
- Fish sauce — 2 tablespoons
- Lime, juice only — 1
- Salt and pepper — to taste
- Carrots, julienne or grated — 3
- Rice vermicelli — 1 (8-ounce) package
- Oil — 2 tablespoons
- Mung bean sprouts — 2 cups
- Greenleaf or romaine lettuce, shredded — 1/2 head
- Cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced — 1/2
- Cilantro — 1/2 bunch
- Mint — 1/2 bunch
- Roasted peanuts, roughly chopped — 1/4 cup
- Nuoc cham — 1 cup
- In a large bowl, mix together the pork, shallots or scallions, garlic, chile peppers, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate for 15-30 minutes.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Add the carrots and blanch for about 30 seconds. Remove the carrots with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.
- Place the rice vermicelli in a heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let them set for 5-8 minutes until softened through. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a sauté pan or wok over medium-high flame. Remove the pork from its marinade and sauté quickly until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add equal amounts of the carrots, sprouts and lettuce to each 2 or 3 deep serving bowls. Place equal amounts of rice noodles on top of the vegetables. Then place a spoonful of pork on top of the noodles to cover them about 1/3 of the way. Place the sliced cucumber neatly over another 1/3 of the noodles. Finally, lay sprigs of cilantro and mint over the remaining 1/3 of the noodles.
- Sprinkle peanuts over each dish and serve with nuoc cham to pour over the noodles to taste.