We ate nem lui in the same streetside restaurant- cum – home as the banh khoai. Nem lui was definitely my favourite of the dishes, and as with the banh khoai we were shown by the women of the family how to arrange and prepare it for eating.
Nem lui is pork mince, molded onto lemongrass skewers and grilled over charcoal.
The pork is wrapped in lettuce, and other greens including tart green starfruit and the herbs – sawtooth, perilla, spearmint amongst others associated with many Vietnamese dishes. The lemongrass is removed, then wrapped in rice paper and dipped into the nước lèo, the name of the spicy peanut dip, enriched with pork liver.
Like the banh khoai, there’s fantastic flavours in this dish. We were really glad to have found this place and experienced some homestyle cooking. It’s incredibly different in the middle of the country, compared to Hanoi. The food has differing spices and alternative flavours and textures. I read that a lot of the food culture in Huế is owed to Emperor, Tự Đức who lived in the nineteenth century. He was known to be a very fussy eater.
Some useful phrases
Sin chow – hello
Mot – one
Hai – two
Gam urn – thank you
Tra da – iced tea, a popular and cheap drink to accompany meals and usually available at hole in the wall restaurants
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