Wonderfully Wild Weedy Wraps

Posted on November 11, 2010

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Herbs are not for dainty garnishes in Vietnam. They are used in abundance, great fistfuls of them.

Mounds of weedy-looking leaves are served alongside soup, the leaves to be stripped and thrown into the hot broth to wilt.

Darling Man and I found a place that serves virtual mountains of scraggy leaves, arranged in an amazing curlicues on giant platters.

We nicknamed the place “wrap and roll” after the slick franchise operation of the same name. However the real Wrap & Roll seems sterile after the wild weediness of Hoang Ty, which specialises in foggy rice paper. (Wrap & Roll does have one of the coolest slogans in Vietnam though — “it’s only Wrap & Roll but I like it”.)

When we lived in Hell Money Hem, we would eat at our local wrap and roll place at least once a fortnight. Especially if we were feeling a bit under the weather. A bowl of crab claw soup and a bunch of weedy wraps would always make us feel better.

The mound of weeds included sarsaparilla (root beer weed to Americans), young mango leaves, garlic chives, perilla , Thai basil, mint, stinky fish weed leaves, lemon balm and segments of white lettuce.  Some of the leaves I’d never seen before and I never worked out whether the fat roundish leaves were the sarsaparilla plant, or the frilly leaves. I load up my rolls with both for a full flavour burst.

A wrap and roll feast was usually served with a small plate of cucumber strips and bean sprouts, a dish of pickled carrot and white radish, two dipping sauces, a plate of foggy rice paper and a plate of meat.

Darling Man would order a half-and-half plate of boiled pork strips. Half were fatty strips, half lean. What we didn’t finish we’d bag up in a doggie bag for our dog, who used to leap for joy at the smells emanating from our motorbike when we returned home.

Hoang Ty’s menu has helpful pictures, so you can just point to what you want. Even Vietnamese speakers point, so don’t feel bad!

Sit upstairs in the airconditioning and watch the antics on the crazy intersecton below. Wash down your weedy wrap with a beer or a lemon soda.

Hoang Ty (Foggy rice paper wrap restaurant)
1 Nguyen Huu Cau Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Phone: (08)38207535

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Posted in: Eat, Street Food, Vietnam