Modeled after a Vietnamese Egg Roll Noodle Salad salad from my favorite little restaurant in Minneapolis, this is the ultimate make-in, take-out dish!
When Kev and I were college students in Minneapolis, our dates usually happened courtesy of Groupon or by way of some cheap little mom and pop shop nearby campus. We discovered a place called Lu’s Sandwiches on Nicollet Avenue midway through our time at school and it became the $3 date spot! We could both get out of there for $7 including tax and come away with an amazing banh mi sandwich for each of us. The shop was nothing special; it had 3 or 4 tiny tables, a deli counter of sorts where you could see them making your sandwich behind the glass, and the rest of the space contained a stand up cooler to select your own drinks from and some asian decorations placed wherever there was extra room.
Fast forward a few years, when we went to grab a sandwich from Lu’s and it was gone! It just moved a few blocks down, but another Vietnamese restaurant now stood in its place. My Huong Kitchen was the name of the new place. We decided to eat there and I ordered Bun Cha Gio, an egg roll noodle salad. At $8, the price was double what we were used to paying for our banh mi, but it was so worth it. I was able to go back twice more for the egg roll noodle salad before we moved to TX, but when I went back to MN this past spring, I just had to have it again!
There is a classic list of ingredients that comes with a vietnamese noodle salad, and it is usually bean sprouts, fresh herbs, cucumber, carrot, romaine lettuce, crushed peanuts, and the house fish sauce. Then, whatever meat you choose to top it with can vary. In my case I love the egg rolls, but you can also do chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or just stick with the all veggie option. The thing I had the most trouble with in trying to recreate this recipe was getting the fish sauce as close as I could to what I had originally tasted. I went through a number of different recipes and finally came out with one that seems almost perfect! Depending on if you like your fish sauce more tangy or sweet, you can add more or less lime or more or less sugar.
The recipe I’m giving you below is just for the salad; it doesn’t include the egg rolls. I bought these chicken spring rolls from Trader Joe’s and they worked out perfectly! I believe it’s $3.99 for 5 egg rolls, and I used 2 egg rolls for my bowl and 3 egg rolls for Kev. It’s a pretty large bowl, but the veggies aren’t super filling, so I was able to eat the whole thing.
This salad keeps really well if you combine all the ingredients but the sauce and the egg rolls and then add those just before you’re ready to eat. It’s a great lunch to prep and pack for yourself at the beginning of the week and then all you have to do is throw the ingredients together for a fresh lunch with some vietnamese flair.
- 4oz thin rice noodles, soaked and drained according to package directions
- 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1/2 large cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used basil, mint, and cilantro)
- 1/4 cup crushed peanuts
- 4–5 cooked egg rolls, sliced into bite sized pieces
House fish sauce
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Layer bowl ingredients, starting with a base of noodles, then adding the rest of the ingredients in order.
- Whisk together fish sauce ingredients and pour half over each bowl.
- Serve while egg rolls are still warm.