Bánh Cuốn at Tan Huang Huong - Tustin
Even if you're not Vietnamese, you've surely heard of bánh mì, those Vietnamese sandwiches constructed from crusty French bread, homemade charcuterie, and pickled carrots and daikon.
But have you heard of bánh cuốn? First of all, bánh cuốn has nothing in common with bánh mì. It's not a sandwich--it's cross between a dumpling and a crepe.
To make bánh cuốn, rice batter is spread thinly on a cloth stretched out over boiling water. The steaming transforms the batter into delicate sheets of noodle that's carefully peeled off, then wrapped around bits of pork and wood ear mushroom.
But the reason I mention bánh mì in a post about bánh cuốn is though there are restaurants in Little Saigon solely dedicated to making the dish, you're more likely to encounter bánh cuốn at a bánh mì shop.
Such is the case at Tan Huang Huong in Tustin. The bánh cuốn is laid out next to register, wrapped in plastic and offered in about three varieties. The one you want is the complete kit you see above. It's sold for $5 and includes crisp fried onion, a side of julienned vegetables, slices of chả lụa (Vietnamese bologna), a fried tofu, and a nước chấm dipping sauce.
To eat it, you dip the meat, veggies, but especially the translucent parcels of the bánh cuốn into the fish sauce, slurping all the way.
Since bánh cuốn is typically eaten for breakfast, Tan Huang Huong's stock tends to run out the later you go in the day. But I've always been lucky to score one for a light lunch or, if I'm feeling peckish, bánh cuốn is actually a great first course before tucking into one of Tan Huang Huong's bánh mìs, which, by the way, are great, too.
Tan Huang Huong
14081 Newport Ave
Tustin, CA 92780
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