My Weekend Post colleague, our news editor John Harvey, has just come back from a trip to Vietnam and had the most fascinating stories to share about Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City… and all the wacky drinks dishes he and his girlfriend got to try.
I personally would have passed on snake wine and crispy-fried sparrows, but was intrigued by the many fresh, colourful dishes John spoke of.
To read about John’s journey, check out the MyWeekend supplement in Weekend Post on Saturday October 20… in the meantime, scroll down for a Vietnam-inspired recipe.
Vietname-style rice noodle salad
This salad has vibrant colours, exciting flavours, is quick to make and has the added benefit of being very healthy. The sauce is made with coriander, chilli, garlic, fish sauce and lime juice, and the raw peanuts scattered on top add even more crunch to the veggies.
Serves 4 as a side dish
3 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped; 1/2 fresh green chilli, seeded and finely chopped; small handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped; juice from one medium-sized lime (about 2 Tbsp); 3 Tbsp fish sauce; 1/2 tsp salt; 1 slightly heaped Tbsp sugar; 200g rice noodles or vermicelli; 2 Chinese cabbage leaves, shredded; 1 carrot, cut into very thin strips; 1/2 cucumber, diced; small handful of fresh mint, chopped (can keep a few sprigs whole for garnishing); 2 Tbsp unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
First do the sauce. Mix the garlic, chilli and coriander in a bowl; add the lime juice, fish sauce, salt and sugar and stir through. Set aside so the flavours can develop – five minutes should be fine. Cook the rice noodles in a large pot of boiling water; if you use the thicker one it should take about 3 1/2 minutes; if using vermicelli noodles 2 min should do it. Drain well, rinse with cold water and drain again. Place the rice noodles on a platter and scatter over the Chinese cabbage, cucumber, carrot and mint. Pour over the sauce, sprinkle the peanuts over and serve.