Roll your own

Vietnamese cuisine can be deceptively complex. For example, consider Viet Ha, located near the corner of Stockton Boulevard and Florin Road across the street from Black Angus. There’s more than 100 entrées on this tiny restaurant’s menu, ranging from traditional Vietnamese “pho” (steaming bowls of noodle soup prepared here with cuts of beef you’ve never heard of) to charbroiled shrimp, pork and spring rolls over rice. Choosing a dish from this seemingly infinite selection is almost an impossible task until you step back from the menu and examine it as a whole. Then it can be seen that almost all of the menu items are combinations of the same basic ingredients—charbroiled beef, shrimp or pork—prepared in a finite number of ways. My particular favorite is the charbroiled shrimp and pork served on a bed of vermicelli. No eating utensils required here: Simply roll the vermicelli and the meat in the large leaves of romaine that have been provided, handily, for this purpose. It’s good and so simple, you’ll probably wonder why you didn’t think of it first.