Last Updated on January 4, 2023 by Jeremy
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When Viet Nom Nom announced they were opening in the old Nu Jewish Bistro space in Squirrel Hill, we almost fell out of our chairs from excitement.
First, we'll never say no to more great Vietnamese food in the city. The second was because I regularly refer to Vietnam as Vietnom-nom-nom whenever discussing all the great food I had when visiting the country. So to say this particular restaurant spoke to us is quite an understatement, and as a result, I was one of the first people in the door on opening day to grab lunch takeout for the both of us.
We were not disappointed.
Delicious Build-Your-Own Vietnamese Fare at Viet Nom Nom
The concept at Viet Nom Nom is an interesting one as you can build your own banh mi sandwich, rice bowl, or vermicelli with an array of protein and vegetable options. Each order gets one protein and four veggies, although you can add extra servings of any category for an additional fee.
Some of these toppings screamed classic Vietnamese (like pickled carrot & daikon, jalapeno, cilantro, and cucumber on a banh mi- an excellent first-time option) whereas others felt tailored for those who aren't used to Vietnamese cooking (such as tomato and lettuce which would be staples on traditional subs and hoagies).
We split our order with a banh mi with lemongrass pork and the classic toppings mentioned above and absolutely adored the flavors in this one- particularly the balance of the lemongrass notes for the pork with the pickled vegetables, cilantro, and jalapenos. Add on the fact that the sandwich was 15 inches long and you have a feast that was both flavorful and filling.
On the rice bowl side of things we switched it up with honey chicken, lettuce, scallion, and steamed bok choi. The chicken was immensely flavorful from the herbs and spices, and only lightly sweet from the honey without being overpowering the way other honey chickens often are. In retrospect, simply ordering lettuce for this one did not do much to elevate the dish, and we probably should've leaned into an herb like basil or cilantro, but trying out flavor combinations in successive visits is what is going to make Viet Nom Nom so enjoyable- the flavor combinations are near endless.
For our sides, we also picked up orders of fresh shrimp rolls and their spicy (but not too hot) Nom Nom Chili Oil for dipping. If you have ever had a fresh Vietnamese spring roll before these hit all the right notes; however, for those who like their spring rolls fried, don't worry- they have pork and vegetable rolls for you too!
Be Prepared for a Feast When Visiting
Before finishing this one, we wanted to note one thing interesting about ordering at Viet Nom Nom. The portions are quite large and, as of our visit on opening day at least, all entrees were $17 be it for a banh mi, rice bowl, or noodle dish (before sides or extra toppings).
You may look at this and go “a $17 banh mi?!” and certainly be correct to question the price. But it isn't until you realize that the banh mi is 15″, or roughly double the size of most conventional banh mi in the city, that you realize Viet Nom Nom only offers huge portion sizes.
Our banh mi was large enough for two very large meals, and Angie was able to make her rice bowl last for three. In this respect, serving costs got down to about $8.50 and $5.67 respectively- although we will note her third portion was a fair bit smaller than the first two. Would it be nice if Viet Nom Nom offered half-sized portions for a lower price? Absolutely- I would 100% buy a 7.5″ banh mi for ~$9-$10 if I could. But we also are not complaining about getting a feast at the price point, either.
Overall, Viet Nom Nom is a fun restaurant concept in Squirrel Hill featuring one of our favorite Asian cuisines. Go into this one knowing you're going to get a ton of food, plan for leftovers unless sharing, lean into traditional Vietnamese flavors, and you really can't go wrong here. We look forward to trying more flavor combinations on our next visit!
Viet Nom Nom is located at 1715 Murray Ave in Squirrel Hill.
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