Bodard Bistro's Special Recipe Spring Rolls

Categories: On the Menu

bodard rolls.jpg
Nem Nuong Cuon (Grilled pork meatball sausage spring rolls) with special recipe sauce
If you ask me where to go for Vietnamese food, my response will usually be: "What are you in the mood for?" Depending on whether you want rice, vermicelli, pho, banh mi, family style meals, etc., my answer would be different because most Vietnamese restaurants usually only excel at one particular dish.

In the summer, when I'm craving spring rolls, the best place to get them is at Bodard Bistro. A California import, Bodard brought the recipe for nem nuong cuon, or grilled pork sausage spring roll, from its mother restaurant in the Little Saigon area of Westminster, California, where they are famous for their addictive rolls.

The secret to these spring rolls lie in part with the filling. The main protein is the nem nuong, a cross between a meatball and a sausage, which is slightly sweet, very garlicky, and has a nice chewy bite. Nem nuong are super-tasty, more dense than sausages as we know them, and don't have any sausage casing. Lettuce, cucumber, and Asian herbs make up the rest of the spring roll, along with a long strip of crispy wonton shell that gives the roll this unexpected crunch the first time you bite into it.

Banh uot dac biet (Special Vietnamese rice roll cake)
You'd think it was the textures that make these rolls so good, but it's the secret family-recipe dipping sauce that pushes these rolls over the edge. I've had the sauce countless times and for the life of me, I can't figure out what's in it. The color is like a burnt orange, and there are egg drop-type strips in it, and perhaps some ground pork. It's viscous, slightly sweet, and served warm. A friend of mine used to say that it was so good, she could drink the sauce as a soup.

Each order (around $5) comes with four rolls, which may not seem like a lot but is adequately filling as a lunch main course. It's considered an appetizer plate and can easily be shared, but every time I've ordered something else, I always wished I had more rolls.

Bodard's menu offers pho, rice, vermicelli, and family meals, among other things. We tried the Banh Uot Dac Biet, or specialty rice flour rolls topped with an assortment of things, and the Banh Xeo, or crispy fried crepe filled with bean sprouts, pork and shrimp. Both were very good, but not as a good as the spring rolls. Like I said, at Bodard, it's all about the spring rolls.

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Location Info

Bodard Bistro

9140 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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Didn't they come from LA and try a place over near where Tan Tan 2 is located?

They've had their ups and downs, but maybe I'll try again.

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

The original restaurant is named Brodard Bistro (B-R-O-D-A-R-D) not Bodard, and it is located on Brookhurst in Westminster, California, which is in Orange County's Little Saigon area. I'm not aware of a different location near Tan Tan 2.  This particular location on Bellaire near the Dim Sum King has had several different owners. Compared with some owners in the past, the current owners, who have been at the helm for almost a year now, seem conscientious and take pride in their food, which is always a good sign. I've been twice in the last month and service has been cheerful, food consistent.


Tan Tan 2 is the original name of the Tan Tan on Bellaire and Ranchester.  The original Tan Tan was on Bellaire and Cook.  Probably before your time. I heard that the original Bodard owners were from the same family that owned Brodard in California. I figured that they couldn't use the name Brodard because there used to be a Brodard restaurant in downtown.  Again, probably before your time.

ziggy smogdust
ziggy smogdust

Maybe I will give this place a try again. I haven't been in a couple of years because it had gone downhill.  I used to go there quite a bit, but something changed.  Makes sense that you said they have had a few owners.  

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

I would have to agree with you about the place going downhill. I stayed away for about a year because the previous owners were so clearly apathetic. I think I went there right when they were in the  middle of handing things over. I'm glad I went back. Things have definitely shaped up. And it's open 7 days a week, so no worrying about which day it closes!

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