>> Summer Rolls | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday 1 May 2019

Summer Rolls


EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (13 December 2023) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
For those used to cruising Rosemead for many years, it may have seemed like the restaurant here has changed from its original incarnation, but step inside and find that it is really only the name that underwent renovation. While "Summer Rolls" might seem fairly humdrum, they serve the same specialties. What used to be Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa now just puts it in the fine print: "A nem nuong restaurant."

If I lived in Rosemead, this corner would be invaluable to my life, with In-N-Out Burger right next door, but usually my trips here are for a getaway to Ninh Hoa, a town in the South Central Coast province of Khanh Hoa.

The proper way to begin your journey here is always the nem nuong special for 2 ($24, below). You can of course get them pre-wrapped in smaller quantity and go for Central Vietnamese specialties like banh beo, small steamed shrimp rice cakes, but on a first visit do as they do in Ninh Hoa and have all the components placed in front of you.

As seen here, the platter includes more than just nem nuong. Those grilled pieces of sweet pork are the bulky charred bricks on skewers, but the plate also comes with cha ram tom, thin cigar-like egg rolls with shrimp; nem chua nuong, the small fermented pork sausage seen at the top; and nem cap, more pork wrapped in banana leaves.

While it is perfectly acceptable to eat it directly, the magic of the spread is the DIY nature of making your own rolls. A plate of rice paper comes ready to be dipped in water and wrapped around your choice of meats and greens from the mountain of herbs and lettuce that accompanies it.

The orange dipping sauce called tuong nep comes standard but is thick and sweet. My personal preference is the fish sauce-based nuoc mam, but this may have to be asked for, and your cousins in Central Vietnam will probably look down on you for doing so.

Either way, prepare for a feast and enjoy.

ROSEMEAD San Gabriel Valley

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