Victoria’s Top Five (Plus One) Salad Rolls

Gỏi cuốn (or Vietnamese salad rolls) are the quintessential summer food, perfect for picnics and eating light. Salad rolls are typically filled with meat such as pork, chicken, shrimp and or tofu and fresh veggies such as carrots, cucumbers and lettuce then wrapped in rice paper sheets. They are neither fried nor fattening and usually gluten free. It’s the perfect handheld snack and one is never enough. Though, if we’re being honest, it’s really the dipping sauce that really makes these rolls so darn good; enjoy them with either a hoisin peanut sauce, or a traditional nước chm, (fish sauce) and you are set.

Salad rolls are fairly common nowadays and most people will have either seen them, eaten them or might even make them at home. But as a traditional Vietnamese snack-food we decided to see which local restaurants are serving up the best.

Some restaurants however, (those we’ve included) are doing that little something extra, with their salad rolls that make them noteworthy. And it’s not just Vietnamese restaurants either that are adding their spin on this delicious little morsel. Here are our Top Five locations to enjoy fresh salad rolls:

Ten years ago,

Victoria had less than a handful of Vietnamese restaurants, today there are more than ten. In fact, there has been a significant increase in Vietnamese cuisine in North America and Europe. Generally less greasy  than Chinese food, Vietnamese cuisine centers on healthy lean meats, vegetables (and of course, there’s the whole “Phở-nonmenon”) and items like the salad roll. Read this article for more info on the rise of Vietnamese cuisine.

Pho Vuong Salad Roll

Pho Vuong

622 Fisgard St. (250) 590-6787

This hidden little gem of a restaurant is serving some of the best salad rolls I’ve ever had. They offer two rolls:

1. Gỏi Cuốn (Summer Roll): Shrimp, thinly sliced steamed pork, lettuce, cucumbers and carrots served with a house made peanut sauce. $3.50

2. Gỏi Cuốn Chay (Vegetarian): Tofu is optional but much better with it. $3.15

Ocean Wise Salad Roll (OBM)

The Marina Restaurant

1327 Beach Drive (250) 598-8555

Shrimp Salad Rolls:

A combined creation of Chef Jeff Keenliside and sous chef Gabriel Fayerman-Hansen, these rolls are as beautiful on the plate as they are in taste. Loaded with Ocean Wise Oregon side-stripe shrimp, whole leaves of Thai basil, cilantro, pea sprouts, potato starch noodles, carrots and toasted cashews. The roll is accompanied with a traditional nuoc cham sauce and a nuoc cham aioli. Enjoy this as a light snack or a starter to your main. Fresh, light and incredibly flavourful.  $14

Kims Vietnamese Tofu Salad Roll

Kims Vietnamese

748 Johnson St. (250) 385-0455

You can’t go wrong with Kims. They’ve been a staple in Victoria for over 20 years and they do a good solid salad roll. In fact, when I was there, several large orders both in house and to go were placed. Kims offers two choices:

1. Gỏi Cuốn (3 rolls): Shrimp, sliced pork, lettuce and rice noodles. The rolls are served with a warm peanut sauce and sirracha. $8.95

2. Gỏi Cuốn Chay (Vegetarian, 3 rolls): Rice noodles, tofu, and lettuce. Simple, firm, sweet and tasty. $8.25

Saigon Night Shrimp Salad Rolls

Saigon Night

915 Fort St. (250) 384-2971

One of the longest operating Vietnamese restaurants in Victoria is run by the lovely Thuy. She is so sweet and generous and the salad rolls are always consistent; fresh, made to order and very reasonably priced. Saigon Night offers five different varieties:

(3 rolls per order, $7.75)

1. Gỏi Cuốn Tom– Pan fried pork, steamed shrimp and rice noodles

2. Gỏi Cuốn Tom Ga – shrimp, chicken and rice noodles

3. Gỏi Cuốn Tom– shrimp and rice noodles

4. Bi Cuon– pork and rice noodles

5. Gỏi Cuốn Chay– tofu, lettuce, carrots, rice noodles $7.75

Noodle Cart Jungle Roll with Green Jungle Sauce

Noodle Cart

1018 Blanshard St. (250) 477-3883

The Jungle Roll (3 pieces, $9.00)

What make’s this roll is definitely the Green Jungle Sauce, and it’s top secret! All I can say is that it’s green and it’s good! I was told that it is made from a mix of Thai herbs and fish sauce with mint being a dominant flavour. The roll is made with broad rice noodles, fresh basil, lettuce, mint, carrot, ground pork and shitake mushrooms. Vegetarian is also an option with tofu.

Surprise! We’ve included a sixth favorite in our list.

Note: While this next mention is essentially a lettuce wrap but so juicy good, we decided it was definitely worth the nod. If you’re looking for a low carb salad roll/wrap then we’ve found the place to go.

Lettuce Wrap Noodle Box

Noodle Box

818 Douglas St. (250) 384-1314 and 626 Fisgard St. (250) 360-1312

Shrimp Lettuce Wrap $8.00

Ocean wise shrimp, Asian slaw; a mix of carrots, cabbage, kale and bok choi tossed in a house made fish sauce and served with a Korean style dipping sauce and several crisp romaine leaves. Try adding a side of the Satay Peanut sauce (gluten free and vegan) and you won’t be disappointed.

 

Recipes

Vietnamese Salad Rolls (Gỏi Cuốn) with authentic Nuoc Leo Peanut Sauce courtesy of ChowTown

Vietnamese Shrimp Salad Rolls  courtesy of ChowTown 

 

Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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