In order for Bun Tom, Cha Gio, Nem Nuong to taste good, nuoc mam ot (fish sauce mixed with lime, hot peppers, garlic and sugar) has to be well blended. Westerners should try the mixed version first before they try the straight one. I know nuoc mam stinks but if used properly -with a light touch- it can increase the depth of flavor for almost any heavy dish. I’ve read that some American chefs have used nuoc mam sparingly on their spaghetti sauce, chili, pot roast and even macaroni and cheese. Usually American foods are kind of plain so nuoc mam will definitely boost up the flavor.
Back to Bun Tom, Cha Gio, Nem Nuong, my favorite meat is Nem Nuong (the red sausage) and of course the mixed fresh vegatables. Although this is not a dish I crave for everyday, it’s nice to have once in a while.