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Food & Drink

Best Spring Rolls 

Banh Mi So #1 — Saigon Gourmet

There are any number of reasons that Banh Mi So #1 – Saigon Gourmet is the perpetual winner of this category. There's the neon sign in the front window brashly declaring that the restaurant's spring rolls are the best in town. There's the simple alchemy of noodles, mint, basil and rice paper. (You choose your protein; we're partial to shrimp.) This year, though, let us celebrate the dipping sauce that accompanies those spring rolls, known as nuoc cham. It's a lovely amber in color, flecked with the red of dried chiles. It is an ideal balance of sweet and hot, tart and — thanks to a healthy dose of fish sauce (nuoc mam) — funky. Eat a spring roll here without it, and while you might enjoy it, you'll likely wonder what all the fuss is about. Eat a spring roll with nuoc cham, and the combination of the roll's clean flavors and the sauce's complexity will lead you to a deeper appreciation — and one more reason to declare Banh Mi So #1's rolls nonpareil.

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