05 November 2010

IGA for lunch - Vietnamese noodle salad in a box

Ever wondered just what those mystery boxes on the counter of many asian grocers are? Miss Chicken investigates...

I am a religious take-my-lunch-to-work girl. I rarely buy lunch except on Fridays or if MelbaToast puts a call through. Today however the cupboard is bare and I remember my local IGA often has little fresh lunchboxes of mystery on the counter, and they're cheap too.

I choose one that looks like it might be a soup box or a salad box. There's either that or some vietnamese rolls. The IGA lady explains this one is a salad, you mix it all together, very lovely. I'm convinced. Only $5.20, I'm on the bus and on my way with lunch packed.

I can't wait for lunch to try out my mystery box. It sat tantalisingly on my desk all morning.

Time to eat! First I unpack the bits, a plastic bag with some salad and another with sauce. It is helpful if you have a bowl to mix this all together and then eat in. The plastic box it comes seems too small to toss in with abandon.

Pour out the box contents into your bowl. There's big round rice noodles (not as thin as the vermicelli found in bun thit nuong) shredded carrot, shredded tofu, sliced pig skin, chopped roasted peanuts, a dollop of chilli jam and two tiny fried spring rolls.

The plastic bag with salad has bean sprouts, shredded cucumber and fresh mint. The bag which seems so small in the box explodes out with freshness. The small bag in the shot above appears to double in size when opened!

Pour the salad stuff on top of the noodle mix.

Then pour the sauce mix on top of it all and mix. The little elastic band on the sauce or dressing bag can be tricky to open - be careful! It is a mix of fish sauce, vinegar and sugar, a classic Vietnamese combination of flavours. You can cut up the little spring rolls if you want to make it more fork or chopstick friendly.

This was so damn tasty - I'll be back to try any other variations. It would also be great taken home and eaten with some grilled chicken or pork.

Maybe my days of jam sandwiches for lunch are over...


  1. I've always assumed those counter meals would be shit/give you food poisoning. Time to get off my high horse and try some!!

  2. I like the tardis like bag of salad...impressive!

  3. it's nice that they bag the sauces so the salad isnt all mushy! lol jam sandwiches are what i eat for breakfast hehe

  4. I love those little take away boxes. The Vietnamese grocer at Marrickville always used to have a great selection.

  5. I like that they are only there in the morning - once they've sold out they are done.

    My brothers had an addiction to Balgay apricot jam, the one in the tin - I guess it's in the family!


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).