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A visit to Vietnam with Saigon Streat

When me and Mr Flicking the Vs talk about where we'd like to take our dream holiday, we always come up with about a million ideas. There's not many places we wouldn't like to go, from Antartica to Chile, from Japan to the Azores. But, being a student, none of those travels are likely to happen. If we want to experience a new country, there's only one way to do it - through the medium of food!

So today's MoFo theme of dream holiday destination was a happy excuse to go out for Vietnamese food, what with Vietnam being another place me and himself would love to visit.

We took our stomachs travelling to the Vietnam by way of Saigon Streat, a Vietnamese street food pop-up that regularly takes over places in South London: you can find them in Forest Hill on Thursdays,  in Greenwich and Brockley on Fridays, and in Greenwich and Hither Green on Saturdays.

The thing that got me interested in paying a visit to Saigon Street was that all their veggie options are vegan, and clearly marked as so. Actually, tell a lie, there's one dessert that uses milk, but the menu expressly makes it clear and highlights the vegan substitution. How good is that? It's not often you get one vegan dessert at a non-vegan restaurant, let alone two, so I was already impressed by Saigon Streat before I got a foot through the door.  (I was still impressed when I got the rest of me through the door, thanks to the lovely and friendly service.)

I feel duty bound to apologise for the quality of the photos, taken in the dark with my crappy phone. No such apologies needed when it comes to the quality of the food though: happily, it's really tasty.

We kicked off with vegan summer rolls, peanut and shallot with rice noodles accompanied by carrot, cucumber, romaine lettuce, coriander, and mint. Happiness is truly a summer roll - so many bright, fresh, lively flavours, all in a dinky package.

What's better than summer rolls? Summer rolls followed by spring rolls! If there's a Vietnamese roll shortage in South London, that's because I've eaten them all, and for that I am not in any way ashamed. If there were some sweet roll dish on the menu for pudding, I would have had them too.

There were a lot of the same summer roll flavours in the bun, a Vietnamese rice noodle bowl - the vermicelli and lettuce, carrot, cucumber, peanut, shallot, and herbs - but the addition of the heavier mushroom spring rolls turned it into a more solid and comforting dish, more in keeping with the grey South London winter than the 30 degree Ho Chi Minh summer.

Mr Flicking the Vs' aubergine and mushroom curry was the standout dish though. I knew it was good mainly because Mr Flicking the Vs doesn't actually like mushrooms, but still managed to down the whole thing at some speed.

The vegetables had been cooked into gently silky texture, melting into the intriguingly complex sauce that hid a rib-sticking portion of rice. It was another bit of cooking that may have come of Vietnam, but is just what you want to see in front of you when the wintry rain is hammering down on the streets south of the river.

And after being so impressed at the vegan dessert options, it would seem an oversight not to try one. 

Look at this! Banana fritters with homemade coconut ice cream, and the non-vegan caramel sauce swapped for maple syrup. Considering the main part of the dessert was battered and deep fried, it was still a lovely, light dish. Crisp, hot fritters and cooling ice cream is truly a happy marriage. Plus, there's fruit involved, so I'm pretty sure that counts as one of your five a day. What more can you ask for?

If you want to find Saigon Street yourself, details of their locations can be found here. If you want a nosy at the latest menu (and the specials that change fortnightly), get yourself over here.

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  1. Amazing! And I too would have ordered all the rolls, spring or summer. You're definitely lucky to have found such a vegan-friendly place.

  2. I was wondering what happened to all them spring rolls. :-) So cool with all the vegan options clearly marked, I'm always worried about hidden ingredients when it's not clear on the menu.


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