Name: Vietnamese spring rolls (Nems, pates imperiaux, cha gio) Eaten in: Vietnam, Cote d’Ivoire Foodie: Linda
The greatest advantage of growing up in a multicultural, diverse environment is that very early on, your palate gets accustomed to a variety of tastes and flavors. Some never leave your memory.
When asked about nems, many Abidjanais will happily give directions to their favorite kiosk. The owners of the one I used to go to, who came from Vietnam, had become so enamored with Cote d’Ivoire and with Ivorian culture that they gave their son a local name. If one day, you meet a man with Vietnamese features called Kouakou, he most certainly is the son of that kiosk’s owners. There cannot be two of them in the world!
Nems are not ubiquitous in North America and definitely not as readily accessible a snack as they were in Cote d’Ivoire, Chinese spring rolls or egg rolls are more commonly found. I therefore found myself missing those delicious rice paper spring rolls and went on a hunt for a good recipe.
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce: Mix together 2-3 Thai Bird’s Eye Chilies chopped), 2 cloves Garlic (sliced), 3 Tbsp sugar, 2/3 cup warm water, 1 1/2 Tsp Lime Juice, 5 Tbsp fish sauce and 2 Tbsp shredded carrots.
The recipe is adapted from: http://www.seasaltwithfood.com/2010/01/vietnamese-spring-rolls-cha-gio.html