Hi Everyone! Welcome back to Yummy Jubbly
We attended the first ever Vietnam Discovery Festival in Potters Field Park in London. This little park located next to the River Thames, by Tower Bridge was perfect for this event. It was a great day out and we had lots of fun eating authentic Vietnamese dishes. We’ve had our fair share of Vietnamese food over the years and there’s loads of Vietnamese restaurants dotted around London. But it’s always different, seeing the food made fresh right before your eyes. It was also great to see the cultural side of Vietnam too. Hopefully this blog will give you an insight into what typical Vietnamese food is like and will inspire you to try out your local Vietnamese restaurant!
Here’s what we ate:
Bánh mì (£3.50)
The baguette was introduced to Vietnam during the French colonial period. The Vietnamese adapted it to fit their own taste buds and it is such a big difference! The Bánh mì is a classic Vietnamese staple and the one we had was as authentic as it could be. Containing slices of soft pork, liver pate, chilli, coriander, pickled cucumber and carrot. But the Bánh mì isn’t just about the filling. The baguette itself is amazing! Crusty on the outside, yet soft and fluffy on the inside. The western baguette can sometimes be tough and after a few bites, the inside of your mouth is left all cut up. You won’t get this with the Bánh mì – most likely because of it’s thinner crust. The mix of the crispy baguette, the crunchy pickled vegetables, the chilli heat, the fragrant coriander and soft melt-in-your mouth belly pork creates a sensation like no other. There’s quite a few Vietnamese restaurants in London dedicated to the Bánh mì – each of them adding their own twist to the filling. So we suggest you try one out soon!
Squid Balls (£3.50)
One of the most popular Vietnamese specialties, the Ha Long squid ball has previously been named one of the top 50 dishes of Vietnam. Fried till golden brown but with a springy texture on the inside. These little balls are made by grinding large amounts of specially selected squids in large pestle and mortars by hand. This then forms a sticky paste, but there’s also diced pieces of squid inside to give that contrast of texture. We could taste the generous seasoning of white pepper in these and together with the sriracha sauce; this was a good fiery snack!
Beef Pho (£5.00)
Another classic Vietnamese staple – pho – rice noodles. The key to this dish is the broth which is made simmering beef bones, oxtail and a variety of spices including cinnamon, star anise and cloves. The longer the broth has been simmering, the more intense the flavour. We had the beef pho, but chicken is another classic option. The broth is served super hot and only then do you add in the raw beansprouts, spring onion, coriander, and mint. In a typical Vietnamese restaurant, they’ll also give you some chilli and a wedge of lime to squeeze in. The silky rice noodles, eaten with a slurp of that intense broth and tender slices of beef is amazing. If you like noodles then you must try this out!
Summer Rolls (£3.00)
These little rolls – as their name suggests – are perfect for the summer. Light and refreshing, they’re typically made by wrapping lettuce, carrot, vermicelli and poached prawns in rice paper. No additional cooking is involved! The rice paper on the outside, has a slight rubbery texture, but mixed with the crunchy vegetables is really nice. We had it served with hoisin sauce and sriracha, but it can also be served with fish sauce. This is a good healthy snack, quick and simple to make too!
Vietnamese spring rolls (£3.50)
Another Vietnamese staple, these spring rolls are very different to the Chinese ones. The filling is wrapped in rice paper and then deep fried until golden brown and crispy! The one we had contained mince pork, black funghi, vermicelli and carrots. It was served with dipping sauce made with fish sauce, white rice vinegar, chilli and some garlic. The sharpness of the sauce really cuts through the richness of dense meaty filling.
Vietnamese green papaya salad (£3.00)
This is a nice vibrant side salad to accompany your Vietnamese meal. Its formed of shredded green papaya, carrot, sliced pork, chilli, peanut, mint, coriander and drizzled with a fish sauce and white rice vinegar dressing. It isn’t creamy or oily like western salads and could be a great alternative. The fresh and crunchy vegetables, mixed with the zingy dressing really cleanses your palate, ready for the next dish!
Iced Vietnamese coffee (£3.00)
This was a bitter sweet end to our day of eating – literally! This is another specialty influenced by the French in Vietnam. If you like your iced coffees, this is for you! Smooth drip filtered coffee (coarsely ground) with creamy silky condensed milk, shaken with ice – so simple yet so good! The skill to making the iced Vietnamese coffee is in the technique and unlike other sugar loaded iced drinks, you can really taste the coffee in this.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this. It’s only a small snapshot of what you can expect of Vietnamese food. Comment down below if you’d like us to do more reviews on Vietnamese food! We’ll leave you with a few photos of what we got up to on the day apart from eating: