By Anne DesBrisay
Chef Bien of Chez Bien used to cook in Italian restaurants on Preston Street. My first visit was lunch, but if you come back for dinner (recommended) you should give his Asian marinated lamb (lemongrass, ginger, garlic, star anise) served with Italian style roast potatoes (rosemary, garlic, olive oil) a try. Pretty successful fusion fare!
But on the first summer-like days of the year thoughts naturally turn to summer rolls. Goi Cuon, also called salad rolls, of softened rice paper circles wrapped around grilled meat, greens, vegetables, noodles and fresh herbs. Lots of Vietnamese restaurants make these, and make them ahead. At Chez Bien, they’re made to order and that makes all the difference.
The grilled pork is warm and fragrant, the vermicelli at room temperature, the vegetables fresh and crunchy in their sweet and sour marinade, while the chopped mint lends a burst of summery vigour to the package.