I have always assumed that Vietnamese food was healthier than many other cuisines. After all, tmuch of the food was grilled, and everything seemed to be served with fresh salad and herbs. I had a rude awakening last night.
We were at Saigon Grill on Broadway and 87th St,., and while waiting on line to get into the rest room, I was able to see what was going on in the kitchen. I saw the cook take thin slices of meat pork chops, out of the deep fat fryer to finish cooking on the grill. I thought, well, that is the pork chops, and besides, they are not so good here anyway. Then, I saw him remove long strands of what I later saw to be eggplant, to finish cooking on a ridged cast iron skillet. Last, I saw him remove skewered chicken from deep fat to finish on the grill. I couldnt take it anymore.
Now I know why lean grilled meats and veggies are so juicy when well-prepared Vietnamese style. Our sensation of juiciness in food is largely a function of the fat content, and in at least some Vietnamese restaurants, "grill" is apparently a euphemism for "simmer in deep fat and then char on grill or in skillet!" Time to wake up and smell the lemongrass.