Restaurant: Vung Tau III Restaurant
City: Newark, California
My aunt and uncle live at the Mojave Desert, where there’s a lack of ethnic restaurants. Vung Tau III is a local Vietnamese restaurant my aunt and uncle must eat at, everytime they’re in town!
When ordering lots of dishes for a large table, salad is a must! Gỏi ngó sen is a Vietnamese lotus root salad, typically served with shrimp and pork, along with fried shallots, crushed peanuts, green onion, rau răm (Vietnamese coriander), mint, and fish sauce.
The salad is also served with bánh phồng tôm (prawn crackers), to be eaten together, like in the photo below! The cracker makes the salad super crunchy (the lotus root is already somewhat crunchy), and fun to eat!
Gỏi ngó sen literally translates to lotus salad. Gỏi is how salad is called, in the South. In the North, salad is called nộm. So, this salad is called nộm ngó sen in the North. However, with a quick Google Images search, it looks like gỏi ngó sen and nộm ngó sen are prepared differently.
There’s tons of Southern Vietnamese restaurants in the Bay Area. There’s a Northern Vietnamese restaurant in SF called Turtle Tower that I have yet to try, but it’s mainly a rice and noodle soup restaurant. If you know of any Northern Vietnamese restaurant in the Bay Area that I should visit, that has more than just noodle soup and rice dishes, comment below!