Welcome to part 2 of ‘The 10 Best Dishes on Earth and Where to Get Them Locally.’ Check out the first five in part one, to get yourself salivating. Of course, I need to drop the same disclaimer that I did in part one. Picking ten is liking picking a favorite child or children. I only stop at ten for practical reasons, but I’ll find a clever way to discuss more dishes in the future. Also, I could not place them in a particular order and these are completely random. These are the best dishes in my opinion. So for those foodies with strong opinions, don’t kill me. Share yours and tell us why its better than the ones on my list!
6. Nime Chow
What in Sam Hill is a Nime Chow? This is what I asked myself the first time I went to a Vietnamese/Cambodian restaurant. I sat down, opened the menu and felt overwhelmed with foreign terminology. As I browsed the menu, I heard the table next to me order “Nime Chow.” A few seconds later another table pre-empted their whole order with “Nim Chow.” Then the table next to me. OK, I’m going to have that. Nime Chow was chosen as #30 of the World’s 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011. Nime Chow is a roll. It is the Cambodian version of Vietnam’s Goi Cuon. Instead of fried into oblivion, this special treat is wrapped in rice paper or bánh tráng and served at room temperature. It’s jammed with vermicelli, bean sprouts, curly leaf lettuce, Thai Basil, and typically one shrimp sliced thin. Though I have seen them with Tofu or even pork. Nime Chow does not end here though. Like peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, spaghetti and meatballs.
Nime Chow comes with a dipping sauce that is unlike no other. This mouth watering clear sauce is a combination of lime, vinegar, Nước chấm (fish sauce which you can’t actually taste fish!), sugar and water. Atop the sauce is crushed peanut. There are as many variations as there are homemade Thanksgiving stuffing variations and of course, everyone makes it the best. Since the rolls are usually halved when the arrive, you simply spoon this heavenly sauce into the roll, hoping to not spill a precious drop. Nime Chow is so delicious that my mom, who lived in Fairhaven, would get the urge for them, place an order to go, hop in the car and drive to her favorite spot in Cranston and come home and eat them. Nime Chow is serious stuff.
A Nime Chow Anonymous should be created for those of us who have become addicts. I’m ready to pawn my TV right now. So where can you get your grubby little hands on them without have to drive to Cranston? Apsara restaurant in Fall River makes them as good as they get. Showing the popularity of the roll, even Thai and Chinese restaurants are serving them. An absolutely delicious and perfect version is served at a new Chinese restaurant, Asia Sea Gourmet on Ashley Boulevard. Also, Sivalai in Fairhaven makes a slight variation, equally delicious and they are called “fresh rolls” there.