I’ve been in HCMC for three full weeks now so when the opportunity came to get out of the city yesterday for a few hours, I couldn’t resist. Being in HCMC is great, but with the constant traffic, noise and massive amounts of people, it can get a little overwhelming at times. One of the LanguageCorps students offered to take me and my housemates into the countryside to “hang out by the river.” Before I left I had no clue what I was getting myself into but one thing I’ve learned here is you can’t really ask questions, you just have to go with the flow.
So after over an hour of driving through muddy streets, taking a ferry and speeding down narrow and curvy roads, we reached our destination. “Hanging out by the river” turned out to mean going to a makeshift waterpark built around some river in the countryside (your guess as to which river it is is just as good as mine). Now don’t get me wrong, the place was actually kind of cool and had I visited this place 10 years ago, I would have had a field day. There were water slides, trees turned into diving boards and tons of boats to ride around in. Everyone else chose to go swimming in the murky green-brown water but I opted for some much needed R&R and lay on a hammock all day reading a book.
One of my favorite parts of the day was eating lunch (duh). Our friend packed tons of food and brought a portable burner so we could cook for ourselves. We made a simple noodle dish and it was fun and super easy to make. I’ll walk you guys through the steps so you can try it out on your own if you want!
Here is what you need:
- Spring Rolls with whatever filling you want
- Fresh Rice Vermicelli Noodles
- Raw lettuce, cucumber ,bean sprouts and your choice of herbs (ex. mint, basil, cilantro) all mixed together
- Soy Sauce and/or Fish Sauce
You should probably make the noodles first. You can buy plain rice vermicelli noodles at any grocery store in Chinatown, NYC or at the Great Wall Supermarket on Route 27 in NJ. Just follow the instructions on the bag. They don’t have to be hot when you eat them so you can even make them a couple hours before you plan to eat.
I would buy the spring rolls frozen and then cook them by deep frying them. After you cook them it’s a good idea to pat them with a paper towel because they will be really greasy. You can buy spring rolls at almost any grocery store. Here is a picture of us cooking the spring rolls.
Once the spring rolls and noodles are done the rest is a piece of cake. Cut up some slices of tomato and mix together your greens and bean sprouts. Then grab a pile of noodles and put them in a bowl. Toss the greens and bean sprouts over the noodles, then add the sliced tomatoes. Put the cooked spring rolls on top of all of that and finish it off by pouring some soy sauce or fish sauce over the bowl. And you are ready to eat! Super easy and a pretty cheap meal as well. Try it out at home and let me know how it goes!!!
This is what the dish should look like: