Vietnamese street food
Vietnamese cuisine is part of the food revolution currently happening in Barcelona’s culinary scene. Where the healthy and tasty qualities of Asian gastronomy are being embraced and adopted by locals, and even becoming one of the dominant trends right now. Vietnamese cuisine while not as well known as Japanese or Chinese is just as fascinating. The Món Viêt restaurant located in the Sant Antoni neighbourhood is a great choice for anyone who wants to discover, or find out more about Vietnam and its culture.
The interior of Món Viêt restaurant feels like an extension of the street outside, a large open area, where the décor is robust, lanterns hang from the ceiling, large bold graphics are featured on the menu in primary colours. There are enormous windows overlooking the street. And there’s a large street terrace directly in front. The food also has a street food vibe that includes a variety of starters, soups, bowls with all the ingredients clearly listed, salads and other dishes.
One of its most iconic dishes is Phở, a delicate noodle soup with a tasty and comforting broth made with various spices that contains meat, bean sprouts and herbs and is originally consumed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Also the Nem, starters designed to be eaten with the hands that are presented as a spring roll and have various fillings (raw or cooked vegetables, pork, beef or seafood) and cooking, are a classic of its popular gastronomy.
The ideal starters for sharing, and typical of Vietnamese cuisine at Món Viêt, are the rolls: the fresh one (Nem Cuốn with rice paste and fresh fillings of rice noodles, lettuce, mint, fresh vegetables and prawns with peanut sauce and sesame), and fried (Nem Pork, stuffed with pork and little vegetables, served with lettuce and mint to roll up the Nem and dip it in the sauce) as well as steamed (Bánh cuốn, similar to a cannelloni with fluffy dough, stuffed with vegetables and pork with fried onion). Just like tapas quite a lot of Vietnamese starters are eaten using the hands; the rolls should be dipped in the sauces that include sweet and sour options, all of them homemade and made fresh. Remember to ask for a spoon because you’ll want to finish any leftovers off. They are accompanied by herbs or raw vegetables and are served separately so that the diner, perhaps intuitively, balances his yin and yang by dipping in the sauce or rolling up the roll with the vegetables.
There are two surprising things about Vietnamese cooking: the first is the Chinese and French influence that is evident in many of its dishes, normally incorporated in subtle ways; the influences date back more than 200 years the result of successive invasions. And secondly, the humility of the dishes, typical of a people that have suffered severe episodes of famine, the recipes are based on the Taoist concept of Ying and Yang and do not rely on animal protein, making Vietnamese cuisine a good option for vegans, vegetarian or even suitable for celiac diet.
Photo of the owners of Món Viêt, Anh-Van together with her partner Carles Amat.