A Vietnamese co worker of H recommended DNJ Café of Paris 13. Native from Ho Chi Minh City, he has been in France for 3 years and finds food there similar to his home. We went on Tuesday and unfortunately, the restaurant was closed. Plan B, we tried Phở Bida which was 200 m from DHJ Café.
The few outdoor tables on the street were nearly all taken. We were led to an indoor seating which was alright as the weather dropped these last few days. Tables were spaced out interior due to COVID.
Pho, bun and com dia, quite a big menu with some more rare dishes.
Goi du du tom thit - Green papaya salad with shrimps and pork
Banh cuon tom - Steamed raviolis with shrimp - I believe the raviolis were home made and were quite good, maybe bigger or more shrimps. We felt the proportion of dough and shrimps should be more harmonized.
Bun Bo Hue - Hue spicy beef noodle soup with pork feet. I didn’t taste this, H said it was good. Although I remember the Bun bo hue I had in Vietnam had cubes of pork blood. I think maybe this will be too hard core for people here.
Bun bi nem chua cha gio - Rice vermicelli with pork rind, sour pork and spring roll. First time I tasted a homemade sour pork. Usually they are sold in the pink packages and they taste the same. This one wasn’t spicy and I like it. The pork rind was sliced extremely fine.
On the whole, the dishes are more refined or included some more preparation than most basic places here in Paris. These make the restaurant more interesting.
Phở Bida Vietnam
36 - 38 Rue Nationale
Tel: 01 53 79 01 61
I am always a bit weary of seeing more than a few noodle types on the menu in Vietnamese restaurants. Its hard to be specialists in both pho bo and pho ga already. Add bun bo hue into the mix and it becomes impossible. The garnish from the bun bo hue looks like its borrowed from the pho. It’d be nicer if they have banana blossom or shredded cabbage, but they probably don’t sell enough bun bo hue to keep those garnish fresh.
Is there a big Vietnamese population in Paris?
That’s certainly a longer and more interesting sounding menu than I see in Vietnamese restaurants in my metro area in the UK. But then Paris is going to have a larger ethnic population because of the colonial background so, presumably, that creates demand from the community.
According to wikipedia statistics, Paris has a little less than 100,000 Vietnamese ethnics and another 100,000 in the Paris region Île-de-France, in the whole country, about 400,000. @Harters Do you know how many Vietnamese in UK and your city?
Over the last 5 years, I do see a rising trend of more Vietnamese restaurants appearing, replacing some of the restaurants space in the past occupied by Chinese restaurants.
One of the biggest differences of having Vietnamese in Vietnam and France, you can never find the same herbs or the abundances you find in Vietnam.
Mastering a few different noodles may not be so difficult, but more the problem of cost of making different stock and mastering a different set of ingredients.
I like pho bo and make my own broth at home. I’m always amazed at the cost in making a real meat and bone broth and the price of herbs sold in supermarket here vs the price of a bowl you can find in a restaurant here. Of course at home, I use more ingredients. I guess restaurants can buy ingredients cheaper, but I’m not sure they can make enough margin with the ingredients I use at home (I tried to reproduce what I had in Vietnam), especially you need quite some broth in noodles.
About 28,000 nationally and, according to the last census, 865 of them live in Manchester.