I drove past "Gossip Tapioca Drinks" a million times en route to the Asian markets in West Valley but never went in. I assumed it was a male Vietnamese hang-out selling coffee, tapioca desserts (and maybe cigarettes?). When found out it was a friendly full-service restaurant with plenty of female staff, I lured Diana down to the hood for a girls lunch. The food was pretty good even though the dishes weren't 100% authentic. The hostess was nice but our waiter, who looked Chinese, spoke neither English nor Vietnamese!
Single Grill Fondue with Beef and Shrimp, $20. It's been ages since I've had this fun interactive Vietnamese-wrap version of "Korean BBQ" called bò nướng vĩ. (1) Cook your own beef, (2) Wrap it in fresh herbs and rice paper, (3) Dip in fish sauce, (4) eat! The portable butane gas stove they brought out took up a third of our table. Butter keeps the meat from sticking to the griddle and adds a moist flavor.
—unsafe, but way fun!
Take a sheet of dry rice paper and soften it in the bowl of water. The rice paper will turn limp, malleable, and sticky. Fill it with lettuce, sprouts, cucumber, picked carrots and daikon, meat. Of course Diana (with precise and deliberate baker's hands) rolled her wrap beautifully on the first try.
The rice paper will be tacky. Roll it up firmly and tightly.
Take a sip of Vietnamese coffee to refresh. Start all over again with cooking the meat, wetting the rice paper, filling it up, rolling it...Single Beef Fondue, $16. This is traditional Vietnamese beef fondue. The process is the same as the grill version but this time you are dunking the meat into boiling broth. The broth should be super flavorful (which it wasn't).
1629 West 3500 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84119