Gỏi cuốn is a Vietnamese dish that is also known as nem cuốn up North. It is a favourite snack for expats and locals alike, and is sold by many HCMC street food vendors, especially when the weather is hot and people are keen to eat fresh rather than fried food. Also famously popular during Tết, thanks to the ease of preparation and camaraderie the dish creates around the table. These fresh salad rolls are made with variations of shrimp, pork, herbs, vegetables and rice noodles all wrapped tightly in rice paper called bánh tráng. Gỏi cuốn is served with dipping sauces such as nước mắm (fish sauce), hoisin sauce and peanut sauce.
One of the most famous and least expensive versions of gỏi cuốn is bò bía, usually made of vegetables, Vietnamese sausage (lạp xưởng), small dried shrimp, fried onion wrapped in rice paper and served with peanut sauce. The quality of this sauce, in fact, is the element which determines whether a bò bía seller can attract many clients or not. Generally, next to a bò bía vendor, you will find nước mía (sugar cane juice) vendor, as well as gỏi khô bò (papaya salad and dried beef), probably because these treats are lovely together.
The easiest way to enjoy these food is to approach a stall in front of a school, as bò bía is adored by students, such as Thực nghiệm sư phạm (Trần Bình Trọng, D5), Đại Học Sài Gòn (An Dương Vương, D5) or check out the stalls at 93 Cách Mạng Tháng Tám, D1. The average price of a single bò bía is VND2,000-4,000.
For information on street food go to Street Food at Bui Vien