Last week one of my co-workers ordered lunch from Sao Mai, a Vietnamese restaurant in the East Village. She gave me a little taste and the flavors in that one mouthful were so mouth-watering that I had to order a meal from there myself this week. If you go there for lunch they have a $10 special which includes one appetizer, one entree and a drink. Now I'm no expert on Vietnamese food, but I thoroughly enjoyed the food I tried from Sao Mai. I was particularly starving that day, so I ate a lot. I got the Goi Cuon, the Bun Sao Mai and the Banh Cuon. Now let me explain each of these dishes:
Goi Cuon: shrimp summer roll with shrimp, lettuce, mint leaves and vermicelli noodles wrapped in rice paper. Served with peanut sauce. OMG. These were some of the best rolls I've ever had. The peanut sauce went with these perfectly. A must-try. It makes a nice change that they're not deep-fried like spring rolls, although I do love spring rolls too.
Bun Sao Mai: the house special. Grilled shrimp, pork and spring rolls served with vermicelli noodles, chopped lettuce and carrot and a lime sauce. If you're still hungry after eating this dish, there's something wrong with you. You've got your seafood, your meat, your deep-fried component plus noodles.....this dish was so satisfying. The flavors all combined to make a very tasty dish. I especially liked how they had seasoned the pork.
Banh Cuon: (main photo) steamed rice crepe. Rice pancake with minced pork and ear mushroom. Served with shredded cucumber, bean sprouts and a chili dipping sauce. This crepe is a must-try. This was the dish my co-worker had me try and it tastes so good it made me want to go there and get one all to myself. Try this, you won't be disappointed. The crepe also comes with a couple of slices of Vietnamese pork bologna.
Sao Mai: 203 First Ave (between 12th and 13th st), New York, NY 10003