Dish No. 76: Banh Uot Thit Nuong (Grilled Pork and Noodles) at Co Ba
Slurp, crunch, slurp.
Welcome to 100 Dishes to Eat Now, Fork in the Road's handy list of some of our favorite dishes -- old standbys and new finds alike -- compiled daily.
Today's pick: Banh Uot Thit Nuong ($14) at Co Ba.
After a year's hiatus back in Vietnam, restaurateur Steven Duong's re-entry to New York is Co Ba, an excellent Vietnamese spot in Chelsea. It is both comfortably casual and somewhat refined, with precisely cooked food that hits sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy notes in delicious balance. With the exception of the clay-pot-cooked pork belly, which is ridiculously good, your best bet is to order anything that involves thit nuong, or grilled pork, which Duong marinates in plum and grills until the edges are sweetly carbonized.
Banh uot thit nuong is essentially a meat-heavy noodle salad; it's a jumble of that grilled pork and bouncy, pale Vietnamese ham (pale, tender, mild), plus a generous jumble of cucumbers, bean sprouts, crisp fried shallots, and Vietnamese mint and basil. Buried underneath all that is a cool, slippery pile of thick rice noodles. Mixed together with the chile-lime sauce, it's a dish of contrasts -- slip, chew, and crunch; tart, meaty, sweet, and pungent.
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