Gỏi Cuốn at the Taste of Saigon Restaurant in Yellowknife
The appetizer you see pictured above is a Vietnamese Spring Roll known as Gỏi Cuốn. They will be available on the menu of just about any Vietnamese Restaurant you can find, but you also encounter them in other Asian and non-Asian Restaurants. Personally, when it comes to Spring Rolls in general, I tend to prefer the hot, deep-fried variety, and I am not always keen on the cold types. The variety served to me at the Taste of Saigon Restaurant in Yellowknife, however, was pretty good, even if the dipping sauce was a little unusual.
The typical Chinese style Spring Roll uses a thin wheat-flour wrapper, but the Vietnamese type are made with a rice-paper wrapper which is soaked to soften before rolling it around the filling ingredients, and it is notable for its translucent appearance.
The range of fillings is highly variable, but the one served to me at the Taste of Saigon included Chicken, Shrimp, Cellophane Noodles and Salad Greens. In this case, the included noodles were supplied a bit too heavily, and almost dominated the filling. The Shrimp, however, were nice sized, and there were four in each roll so that rather offset the surfeit of noodle a little bit. The chicken was a bit non-descript, but the Shrimp were crisp tender and nicely seasoned.
Being in the Northern City of Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, the Taste of Saigon is at the mercy of distance and supply issues, and cannot always obtain all the food items it might like. In the South, the Salad greens in a Gỏi Cuốn may well include fresh Vietnamese Herbs. Here, the greens were standard Mesclun mix, or the like, which was okay, if not terribly exciting.
The one thing that surprised me here was the Peanut sauce on the side for dipping. Two days earlier, I had visited this restaurant was surprised to find that their Beef Satay Skewers were *not* served with the usual Peanut Sauce. Typically, Vietnamese Spring Rolls are accompanied by a Nước Chấm, or other Fish-Sauce based Sauce, and the Peanut Sauce was most unusual. It tasted fine, but I would really rather have had it with my Beef Satay. In any event, the Gỏi Cuốn in Yellowknife were interesting, and I liked them better than I usually do.