Banh Cuon: Barbecued Pork Noodle Rolls

This is an order of banh cuon thit nuong I got at a restaurant called Thien Thanh on Bellaire across from Hong Kong City Mall. Banh cuon is a very cool Vietnamese dish that Tuscany Coffee barista David Bueher told me about. It's made by wrapping rice noodle sheets around various fillings -- banh cuon thit nuong is noodle sheets stuffed with barbecued pork.

The rice paper rolls are served with a spicy fish sauce and sprouts or herbs. You can get all kinds of fillings. The barbecued pork is $6.25; the ground shrimp filling is $5.75. There are other kinds of noodle dishes at Thien Thanh, including vermicelli and escargot, and the steamed rice cakes called banh beo. But there aren't any rice dishes. "No rice, no pho," the owner told me proudly, handing me the menu.

There are several banh cuon restaurants in Houston, so I'll check out a few more and report back.

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