Loaded with a variety of textures and savory-sweet flavors, this Saigon street-food favorite is a close cousin of Malaysian and Singaporean popiah (think a colorful mu shu wrap). But instead of encasing the filling in a delicate wheat flour–based wrapper, Vietnamese cooks use rice paper for their rolls, which are called bò bía.
The original version features sliced sweet Chinese sausages, which are unavailable at American supermarkets, so I doctor up sausages such as Aidells’ mango, which are mildly sweet with tropical overtones; plus, they’re fully cooked and easy to thinly slice. Garlicky stir-fried jicama, fluffy egg strips, and lettuce add complexity. The sauce is enjoyed both in the roll and on the side for dipping, resulting in a great one-two punch of flavor.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, tahini, sriracha, and hoisin sauce. Taste and add enough of the water to create a salty-sweet-hot balance. Set the sauce aside. In another small bowl, beat the eggs with ⅛ teaspoon salt.
- Set a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and swirl in 2 teaspoons of the oil. When hot, pour in the eggs and use a spatula to pull and push the edges toward the middle, allowing excess egg to flow out and set on the skillet. When mostly set, about 1 minute, turn the egg over. Cook for 15 to 20 seconds longer, until fully set and done, then transfer to a plate. When cooled enough to handle, cut the egg into quarters and then cut each quarter into ½-inch-wide strips. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, combine 2 tablespoons oil and the garlic. Let sizzle for 2 minutes, until light blond, then transfer to a large bowl. Turn the heat to high, add the jicama and carrot (if using) to the skillet, sprinkle in ½ teaspoon salt, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring, until crisp-tender. Add to the fried garlic and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.
- Reheat the skillet over medium-high and add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and the sausage. Add the maple syrup and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes to caramelize the sugar and brown the sausage a bit. Remove from the heat, sprinkle in the five-spice powder, and stir to combine. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
- Set up a rice paper–rolling station with the sauce, jicama, sausage, egg, lettuce, and rice papers. Nearby, have a large deep skillet or wide shallow bowl filled with 1 to 2 inches of very warm water.
- For each roll, slide a rice paper round in the warm water for a few seconds to wet both sides, then place on a cutting board or dinner plate. When the rice paper is pliable, about 1 minute, smear 1½ teaspoons sauce in the center of the lower third, painting an area about 4 inches by 1 inch. Layer in 3 tablespoons lettuce, 2 to 3 tablespoons jicama, 1 or 2 egg strips, and 2 slices sausage. Bring up the bottom edge to cover the filling and roll twice. Fold in the sides and finish rolling to seal. (To replicate the photo opposite, don’t place the sausage atop the egg; roll the rice paper up once, then tuck in the sausage before finishing.
Reprinted with permission from Vietnamese Food Any Day by Andrea Nguyen, copyright © 2019. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography credit Aubrie Pick © 2019.