A typical “lunchbox” type item in Vietnam would be spring rolls, which can be prepared in advance and wrapped in plastic wrap to be eaten out of hand later. Stuffed with fresh vegetables, spring rolls make a healthful addition to any meal. While preparation can seem somewhat labor intensive, kids will have an especially fun time helping to prep ingredients and create the rolls. Serve with nuac cham (see recipe below) for dipping.
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
1½ pounds medium shrimp
½ pound rice vermicelli noodles (Bun noodles)
2 heads Boston lettuce
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
3/4 cup fresh mint leaves, shredded
3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, shredded
35 round rice paper wrappers (8 inch diameter)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, garlic, and honey. Place the pork tenderloin in a foil-lined baking pan. Pour the soy sauce-garlic marinade over the meat and turn to coat. Roast about 35 minutes or until the pork is throughly cooked. Allow the pork to cool then slice into 1½ inch long strips.
Poach the shrimp in boiling water until pink; then peel and slice in half lengthwise. Set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the rice vermicelli for 2-3 minutes until just tender (don’t overcook or they will become mushy). Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
Separate the lettuce leaves; rinse, dry, and remove the tough center ribs.
In a large bowl, toss together the pork, rice vermicelli, carrots, mint, and cilantro.
Fill a roasting pan with hot water. Dip one rice paper wrapper into the hot water, then place it on a clean dish towel.
Arrange a lettuce leaf on the lower third of the wrapper; then put 2 tablespoons of the pork filling on the the lettuce. Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper over the the filling and tuck in the sides.
Place two shrimp halves, cut side down, on top then roll up into a tight cylinder.
As the spring rolls are completed, place them on a serving platter and cover with a damp towel to keep them from drying out. These can be prepared ahead of time and wrapped in plastic wrap until ready to eat.