Are vè dòn and nạm ...
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Are vè dòn and nạm different cuts of flank steak

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Lucas Turner
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 Lucas Turner
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(@Lucas Turner)
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Joined: 6 years ago

Hi Cuong,

Are vè dòn and nạm different cuts of flank steak (outside vs. inside flank, for example), or are they the same cut, just cooked differently? Are there vietnamese words to distinguish between outside and inside flank? Sometimes I see "skirt flank" on pho menus. Does this refer to vè dòn specifically? Thanks!

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Cuong Huynh
Joined: 14 years ago

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Posts: 448

@Lucas Turner: As far as I know, vè dòn and nạm (crunchy flank and flank steak) are both from the flank, with the only difference being the tough membrane on the flank is left on to give you the vè dòn. When cooked properly, this part gives you the crunchy texture, hence the name.

I'm sure there are Viet words to distinguish outside and inside flank, but for the vast majority of people not in the meat business, including many pho restaurant operators, it's not a common knowledge. I myself do not have such specialized knowledge. I'm sure if you talk to a Viet butcher or someone in the beef trade, you can learn of the names. If you stop and ask people in the street if they know what outside and inside flanks are, I think you may find almost 100% wouldn't even know or aware of such things.

What you see on pho menus depends on what length the owner of such restaurant go to translate an item to describe the ingredients in his pho. If you see "skirt flank" on a menu, then I'm pretty sure the person made some effort to translate it pretty much verbatim. The fact is most pho restaurants use similar suppliers, and mislabelling can be rampant. So I'm not convinced that "skirt flank" is anything special, and it's not necessarily the vè don you're referring to. It may be, and it may not be.

I hope this helps but I do not have definitive answer for you on this question.