There are lots of Vietnamese stores and restaurants in my neighborhood. On lazy days I do all my shopping at Truong Thinh, the Vietnamese market around the corner, and pick up a banh mi for lunch. One of my favorite places to eat is Pho Hoa, where I love to order the House Special Vermicelli Plate (number 90 in case you’re going–Pho Hoa is a chain and there might be one near you!). It comes with a bunch of delicious things, and rice paper wraps so you can make your own spring rolls. The first time I ordered it, the waiter brought the rice paper wraps first and Ben and I tried to take a bite of them. No dice. They are dry like paper until you soak them in hot water. Oops.
Anyway, the house special plate comes with those wraps (and a big bowl of hot water to soften them) and vermicelli, herbs and vegetables topped with grilled pork, meatballs, a spring roll, and shrimp & sugarcane. It also comes with fish sauce on the side. It’s SO good, and the grilled pork is my favorite. I don’t know what they do to it.
This dish is my attempt to recreate that dinner at home. I have to tell you, it’s really good, but it’s not QUITE the same flavor I get at the restaurant. You should still make it, though. It’s super yummy and healthy and beautiful (and lots of fun to photograph, if you’re into that). It has a lot of components, but almost all of them can easily be made in advance. When it’s time to eat, just cook the pork and put together your bowl!