Wrap & Roll at The Star Vista – DIY Vietnamese Rolls
Vietnamese gastronomic heritage reflects the country’s rich history. It has evolved influences from the Chinese and French colonial rule. Owing to Vietnam’s longitudinal landscape, there are three distinct styles of food, milder in the North, spicer in the South and more intricate in the Central region where all the royal residences are located. Undeniably, there is a common theme running through the myraid of Vietnamese dishes – rice paper rolls, fresh herbs and greens and the quintessential fish sauce to give an exquisite combination of flavours and irresistible aroma. What’s more, vietnamese food is one of the healthiest cuisines in the world!
Founded in Ho Chi Minh in 2006, Wrap & Roll is an award-winning international restaurant chain, serving classic Vietnamese cuisine in a contemporary setting. Wrap & Roll now has 10 outlets and counting in Vietnam and Australia. Their popularity has been further affirmed by numerous awards like “Top 100 Vietnamese Restaurant 2012 in Vietnam” by Delicious Magazine and “Best Vietnamese restaurant chain 2010” by Vietnam Tourism Board. Late last year, it has set up its first outlet in Singapore at The Star Vista in Buona Vista.
It was started by two young entrepreneurs who fell in love with Vietnamese food after their holiday in Vietnam a few years ago. Hence they brought the brand to Singapore, gave up their full time job and manage the restaurant. Wrap & Roll in Vietnam is more pricey and the menu there is much more extensive. But in Singapore, the owners decided to give it a more casual dining concept, showcasing only the best dishes all over Vietnam. The menu here is simple and straightforward, with about 30 dishes for you to choose from.
Every dish is delicately hand-made with specially Vietnam-imported ingredients to maintain the authenticity of our dishes. Over 50% of the ingredients are imported from Vietnam. The chefs here are trained in Vietnam for a month to ensure quality control. And the chefs from Vietnam will come over to train the workers here every 6 months.
We started our dinner with a plate of Lotus shoot salad with prawns ($8.90) – a simple, yet refreshing Vietnamese salad with a big crunch. This dish is comprised of lotus roots which you can hardly find in Singapore, carrots, shrimp and keropok, dressed with fish sauce vinaigrette. So light and refreshing!
The focus for Wrap & Roll is of course their rolls lah! Fresh rice paper, vegetables and herbs form the key ingredients in most dishes, along with their variety of traditional specialty sauces. To compliment the different rolls, different sauces are created. They have more than 10 different kinds of sauces here.
I enjoyed Minced pork & mushroom in steamed rice paper rolls ($8.90). The skin is very labour intensive and it is made ala minute. It tasted similar to our local chee cheong fun, with minced pork and mushrooms. The skin is thinner and more chewy. Pairing it with northern sauce, which comes with pickles and much sweeter.
Grilled pork in steamed rice paper rolls ($7.90) is dipped in a peanut and soy bean sauce. The pork is marinated with lemongrass and grilled to perfection, giving it a nice aroma. It is wrapped with mint to give it a unique refreshing flavour.
Coming to Wrap & Roll, you definitely need to do some hand exercises with our selection of ‘Roll-It-Yourself’ dishes. Hanoi grilled pork skewers ($9.90), or called Bun Cha Hanoi, is a unique food which has a long tradition in Hanoi. Being unsophisticated yet very appetizing dish, this dish is the perfect combination of smokey grilled pork belly, springy rice noodle, fresh herbs and tangy pickles.
To best enjoy them, here’s a step-by-step:
1. Sprinkle water into the rice paper.
2. Transfer some amount of the noodles, meat and tear a few greens into the the rice paper.
3. Fold it like you are folding popiah. Or in any way just so that the ingredients don’t fall off.
4. Dip it in its homemade sauce and EAT!
Dipping the grilled meat into the sauce adds a wonderful acidity to the BBQ meat which is prepared both thinly sliced and nicely grilled. The next time I am coming back here for a meal, I will definitely order this dish again!
Another unique dish here is Banh xeo ($15.90, for 2 pax). It is savoury Vietnamese crepe with prawns, pork, beansprouts & mushrooms. The name bánh xèo translates to sizzling cake and this is because the crepes are cooked at a higher temperature and sizzle when the batter hits the pan. Cooking the crepes this way gives them a slightly crispy edge. Despite the fact that these crepes look like an omelette they are actually not made with eggs but rather a rice batter where the yellow colour comes from turmeric powder. Trust me, it is very filling for 2 pax!
We also had a taste of Saigon with crispy prawn pancakes and traditional deep fried spring rolls ($9.90). I am generally not a big fan of fried food and I find the skin for prawncake too thick.
Actually I have been to Wrap & Roll for a couple of times. The previous time I was here to try their lunch deal promotion and ordered a Grilled pork chop rice with salted egg pudding ($12.90). I love it so much and this time when I am back again, I requested to order its Grilled pork chop rice again. It’s just comfort food for me, something I wouldn’t mind eating and eating again for lunch. What is interesting is its salted egg pudding, which is made with black fungus and minced pork, which reminds me of the typical steamed egg with minced pork which my Grandpa will cook.
One new dish that Wrap & Roll has is Vietnamese Beef hotpot ($16.90). It is chicken and pork base with vinegar and lemongrass, so you get a little bit of sourish taste for the soup. There is also Seafood hotpot ($18.90) and from now till 18th Aug, you can pair it with a Saigon Export beer at only $4.90.
I don’t really have much knowledge about Vietnamese food and dining at Wrap & Roll certainly is an eye opener for me. We were treated to very unique dessert – Sweet mung bean & taro with coconut cream (hot/cold, $4.90). It looks like our local tau suan, but it tastes very different lah. The addition of coconut milk gave off a deep, sweet aroma. The texture is silky and smooth. And it’s just sweet enough without sending me into a diabetic coma.
The boy had Sweet bananas & sago in coconut milk (warm/cold, $5.90). We ended our milk with Vietnamese ice chrysanthemum tea ($3.50) which has an acquired taste. Glad to know that they are opening their second outlet in ION Orcahrd this September 2013. Seems that vietnamese food is the trend now and we see more and more vietnamese restaurants opening up in Singapore. Over the next few weeks, I will be introducing more Vietnamese restaurants to you!
Wrap & Roll
Address: 1 Vista Exchange Green, #B1-11
Tel: 6694 4111
Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs 11am to 10pm; Fri – Sat 11am to 10.30pm; Sun: 10am to 10pm
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