How had I never been here before?
That was my thought after ordering the BBQ chicken baguette (£5.50) at Non Viet Hai on Great Western Road.
After calling in for a quick spot of lunch I was blown away by how delicious the food was.
Non Viet had already established a great name for themselves in town before opening up in the West End.
The ‘Bahn Mi’, baguette was filled with Vietnamese picked cucumber, carrot, chilli and coriander, a dream combination.
It was served as a warm crispy baguette and the chicken inside was marinated perfectly in a lovely sauce.
I have been thinking about it ever since. Please just take my word for it and go try one.
Following on from that first encounter, I kept hearing friends and relatives raving about Non Viet – particularly their famous ‘Shaking Beef’.
Delicious crispy coating
So I thought it was only best to return to try it out for myself.
To start, I had a cold crisp Hanoi beer with some Vietnamese prawn crackers.
Next up were the ‘Crispy Vegetarian Spring Rolls’ (£5.30) – hands down, the best spring rolls I’ve ever eaten.
With a delicious crispy coating, the lettuce and mint was perfect to wrap around the rolls and the lovely filling inside.
Dip that tasty little parcel into the soy sauce and you’re laughing.
The main event was ‘Bo Luc Lac’ aka Shaking Beef (£10.50).
The tender pieces of beef are marinated in a rich dark soy sauce and garlic and it certainly delivers in a deep amazing flavour.
The salad it is served with adds a delicious freshness and an extra kick of chilli.
We then tried out the Coconut Seafood Curry and Lemongrass + Chilli Vermicelli.
The ‘Ca Ri Hai San’ (£11.90) was served sizzling in a pot with prawn squid and scallop immersed in a wonderful creamy coconut.
The curry was simmered with vegetables to create that fabulous richness.
The pieces of fish were fresh and the perfect size.
The ‘Jasmine Rice’ (£2.50) was the ideal accompaniment, sticky and delicious to soak up all the coconut sauce.
The Lemongrass & Chilli Vermicelli otherwise called ‘Bun Sa Ot Ga’ (£9.80) came with soft chicken marinated in fish sauce, sautéed with lemongrass and chilli, served with shredded lettuce, cucumber, onion, pickle carrot and mooli (an Asian radish).
It was topped with a sprinkle of peanut and a light almost sweet citrus sauce that brought all the flavours together. Worth every penny.
My Own Take on “Vietnamese Spring Rolls”
These particular ‘raw’ spring rolls are lovely and simple as there is no deep frying required. Just roll up your veggies and your good to go.
I made a peanut and ginger satay dipping sauce to go alongside my ‘Rainbow Spring Rolls’.
First, chop up chillies, carrot, cucumber, coriander and red cabbage. You can use whatever filling you like and get creative with.
I bought a packet of spring roll wrappers and dipped each sheet into hot water for 15 seconds until soft.
Carefully place the wrapper onto a dish towel. They are fragile and fiddly so take your time.
Place your fillings onto the thin sheet and tuck in the bottom and sides – just like how you would wrap a burrito or a taco and then slowly roll it up.
I then moved on to making a dipping sauce for the spring rolls to add a kick of extra flavour.
I blended up 3 tablespoons of peanut butter with fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, a clove of garlic, 2 cm piece of ginger and some fresh coriander and seasoned to taste.
Even just dipping the spring rolls in soy sauce would be tasty but I’m a sucker for a satay sauce and it worked perfectly.
To finish off I sprinkled the spring rolls and my sauce with sesame seeds.
I was pleasantly surprised at how great they looked- with the array of colours- and most importantly, how good they tasted. Definitely a winner.