Where Freshness is Rolled Into One

Columns Ethnic Faves

March 20, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

It is the freshness of Vietnamese cuisine that makes the Southeast Asian country’s dishes so appetizing and appealing. A healthy blend of spices, vegetables, fresh meat and noodles complement each meal, and those items are sometimes combined and presented in deliciously wrapped rolls.

  • Saigon House's Finger Shrimp Cha Ram ($8) features bite-size shrimp, carrots, cucumber, pickled vegetables and greens — all dipped in a bowl of fish sauce.
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At Saigon House, owner Mandy Nguyen has created her own fresh interpretation of the egg roll. The restaurant’s Finger Shrimp Cha Ram ($8) takes the concept of the egg roll and puts a fresh spin on it.

“The egg roll is an ethnic food from Vietnamese cuisine,” Nguyen says. “Vietnamese is very healthy, very tasteful, so I kick it up a notch with the shrimp because no one can resist shrimp. It is my favorite creation.”

Finger Shrimp Cha Ram brings marinated bite-size shrimp together with carrots, cucumber, pickled vegetables and greens. Even better, it’s MSG-free.

“In Vietnam, we eat a lot and make a lot of rolls. You roll, you dip and you eat. This is very similar,” Nguyen adds.

For dipping purposes, the rolls are served with a fish sauce, which accompanies many Vietnamese dishes.

Nguyen — who was born just outside Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, and raised in Hawaii — created this dish after she and a friend discussed the concept of developing a dish they could package and sell in larger markets.

“I went home and brainstormed a lot, experimented and came up with this,” Nguyen explains. “Everyone says it is ono. It is my own invention and I take the most pride in it.”

Saigon House

  • Where
    • 2743 South King Street
    • Honolulu, HI 96826
  • Call
    • (808) 942-4577
  • Hours
    • 9 a.m. – 9 a.m.
    • Monday – Saturday
  • Notes
    • Free parking available behind the restaurant.