spring rolls

Little V (Rotterdam, Netherlands): The Vietnamese Restaurant That Has Everything

THE STORY

I had been craving pho noodle soup for a while. I wanted a steaming bowl of delicate yet sturdy broth, the squeak of beef balls between my teeth, the refreshing crunch of bean sprouts between slurps...have you ever had that feeling?

I presume you have, which is why you're here on this blog.

Little V Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup

On this sunny summer evening, The Ramen Marauder and I headed towards the City Center (Centrum) to satisfy my craving at Little V. The pictures I'd seen made me curious - it looked trendy (not usually something I look for in an Asian restaurant), but the food looked so legit.

There was a ton of outdoor seating, though half of the tables were reserved. Our waitress came over and explained the menu, which was much more extensive than I had expected. Also, there were plenty of wait staff (if that's something you're into).

We noticed tables around us sharing large platters of what appeared to be noodles and crepes. For just the two of us, it seemed a bit much, but I look forward to going back and trying more dishes with more friends.

Because the food was, indeed, legit.

Little V Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands Spring Rolls with Nuoc Cham

THE REVIEW

First, I recommend the house-made lemongrass ginger iced tea. On these warm Dutch days, it'll be the perfect thing to wash down your spring rolls and pho.

When the pho arrived, I'm not sure I spoke more than five words from beginning to end - I couldn't stop stuffing my face! More than just a great bowl of broth, there was a substantial balance of noodles and meat as well, enough so that nearly every spoonful had a bite of meat and pinch of noodles. While there wasn't Sriracha and hoisin on the table, they do provide a small of the two sauces together (not mixed!). And they even had Thai basil. I had almost forgotten how its sweet, anise aroma adds such depth to pho.

The spring rolls were a perfect addition to our dinner. Although we received them after we had eaten our pho, we still had a comfortable amount of room for them. I've never seen so much greenery included with an order of spring rolls, so I chose to roll up the spring rolls with some of the lettuce and mint and dipped it in the nuoc cham. Right or wrong, it was delicious.

Little V Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands Vietnamese Coffee

And to finish the meal, we ordered Vietnamese coffee, which came with a lovely shortbread cookie.

Everything - the pho, the spring rolls, the sauces, the Vietnamese coffee - came in these typical Chinese-patterned blue-and-white bowls. It was a strangely familiar touch to the experience.

If you are looking for a beautiful dining experience and a great bowl of pho, Little V Rotterdam is the place to be.

BONUS: The bathroom was super cool.


Little V (they also have a location in Den Haag), Grotekerkplein 109, 3011 GC Rotterdam, Netherlands, +31 10 413 11 91

In Memoriam - Oi Hanoi (London, UK)

PREFACE

We had the pleasure of eating at Oi Hanoi in November 2015. As I searched for their website, it seems that they may be permanently closed?? They haven't had any activity on Facebook or Instagram in a while, but someone recently reviewed them on TripAdvisor.

While I don't believe my blog post would have saved the restaurant, it breaks my heart that I didn't praise it sooner. This article about the owner bringing Oi Hanoi "back to life" is from October 2015.

I've decided to still publish this blog post because
1) I'd already written it before adding this preface; and
2) I love(d) the restaurant

OiHanoi_002.jpg

THE STORY

Much like other cultural epicenters, London has an unlimited amount of Asian food possibilities. We were visiting London primarily to see my mom, who had scheduled her trip months before we moved to Germany, as well as my dear friend Brooklyn Deferred, who relocated from New York. And, as luck would have it, Ai Weiwei had an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts during that time. Our schedule was packed!

OiHanoi_003.jpg

If you don't know who Ai Weiwei is, please take a moment to visit the Royal Academy's page about the exhibition for a quick intro to his work, or visit his Wikipedia page for a more extensive telling of his story.

In short, he is a Chinese multimedia artist who has openly criticized his government, resulting in detainment and house arrest. Another one of my favorite installations by him (though I didn't have the opportunity to see it) was his installation at Alcatraz in 2014.

But back to the pho:

The winning factor for eating at Oi Hanoi was that it was within walking distance of our hotel. We arrived as soon as it opened. It was two floors and narrow, which, for some reason, wasn't what I expected. It felt more like a take-out place for that reason, though we were happy to sit and enjoy our meals. Yes, plural - we ate there twice.

When we ordered the first time, the gentleman behind the counter questioned the size of our appetite, but we assured him we would eat everything. He also noted that the bread man would not make his delivery for another 10 minutes, so the pho would be served before the banh mi. We were quite OK with this.

OiHanoi_001.jpg

THE REVIEW

When the food was finally served, our bellies were grumbling for joy. The regular size (which the gentleman believed to be too large for us) was just the perfect size, and although the banh mi ended up being bigger than we imagined, it wasn't anything we couldn't handle. It was so packed with pork, we weren't sure there were any vegetables in it.

The second time we went, we ordered pho, but instead of banh mi, we had summer rolls and steamed pork buns, all of which was still heavenly.


As mentioned above, the internet seems to believe Oi Hanoi is closed - will you let us know? 91 Whitechapel Hight Street, London E1 7RA, United Kingdom, Tel: +44 20 7650 0001