What are vè dòn and gầu???
Can someone clarify what the two ingredients "vè dòn" and "gầu" are I see on some pho menus? What kind of beef meat/cut are they? Thanks.
For those not familiar, on menus in many pho restaurants, there are flank (nạm), crunchy flank/beef/whatever (vè dòn), and fatty brisket (gầu) offered as protein toppings. Both flank types come from basically the same flank steak, with the difference being:
- Well-done flank (nạm) is the trimmed version, and
- Crunchy flank/beef/whatever (vè dòn) is the untrimmed version.
- The fatty brisket (gầu) is either the whole brisket untrimmed or just the point (front) of the brisket. Here's a video showing brisket trimming. It's for BBQ but so what, we all love BBQ right?
The flank steak piece itself has a silver layer/membrane on one side that is trimmed off (along with some fat) for North American consumption. For pho, though, we Viet people leave this on to get the vè dòn. Properly cooked and sliced, it gives a chewy and crunchy texture in addition to the awesome flank beef taste.
If you encounter a pho restaurant in North America that is way outside of a concentrated Asian/Viet community, you're likely NOT to find vè dòn on the menu. This is because these restaurants can only get supplies from American suppliers (like a Sysco) who only carry the trimmed flank for American consumption.