i know there’s a BunBunBun on the Shoreditch end of Kingsland Road but a little while ago they opened another Kingsland Road location much closer to my home so i had to try it. i’m really glad i haven’t completely given up because this was pretty good, although a bit mysterious! why, you ask? well, i decided to order my go to dish (i was alone so one dish it was) – on the menu described as Bún chả Hà Nội 11.5 Hanoi Bún - Served as it is served in Hanoi [grilled lemongrass pork, mini grilled pork patties in a meat broth with a crispy spring roll]. sounded intriguing. and it was. the lemongrass pork (again cut thicker than I think it should be but nicely charred) and moist pork patties came in a small bowl of broth that tasted like a good beef pho broth laced with nước chấm - tangy and somewhat sweet. there was some pickled carrot and daikon in there too. then a large dish with rice noodles, shredded lettuce, herbs. and chillies. oh, and that was a nice non-greasy crispy spring roll too. i had no idea how to eat this so tried it two ways. spooning the broth onto the noodles, and then putting some of the noodles into the broth, and a third way - transferring the noodles into a spoon loaded with some meat and broth. no one laughed at me but i still have no idea how it’s supposed to be eaten. if you know, tell me! that’s all i had this time but the flavours and presentation were right on - i think they should add some beansprouts and cucumber, though - and i will go back and try something new - hopefully with the guy so i can sample more than one dish at a time. ok then!
The small bowl of broth is actually a dipping sauce which you dip noodles or vegetables into; or you treat the broth as a dressing which you can spoon over the noodles on your large plate. Whatever you do - do NOT drink the broth - it’s not a soup as the component parts, e.g. nước chấm is very salty. Liberal amounts of sugar and pepper would have also been added to the dipping sauce/broth.
yay for me for getting it pretty much right. it was described as coming in a meat broth so at first I did have a couple of spoons and figured out what it was. this one was sweeter more than saltier. when i make the *nước chấm myself i do add quite a bit of water to taste. and i suppose it’s to my taste and blood pressure i like the idea of the whole lettuce leaves rather than shredded lettuce though and wondered why it hadn’t come that way. maybe i could ask them next time… on the whole, based on the blog you sent (thanks) they really did have it sot on though. i’ll go back a couple more times and try other things.
I think the Southern Vietnamese would like to use whole leaves to wrap their spring rolls, plus a bit of the noodles and some herbs, into a package and dip the whole thing into the sauce/broth.
The Northern Vietnamese are not so much into salads or greens and they’re probably the ones who’d opt for shredded lettuce.
People sometimes don’t realise what a long coastline Vietnam has - it’s 3,260km. There are regional variations in the language used in the North vis-a-vis South. Also, their cuisines and taste preferences change noticeably as one moves from North to South. Comparatively, the United States’ Pacific coastline is 3,330km.
The distance between Seattle and San Diego is 1,715km, whilst from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, it’s 1,161km.
You’re making me hungry for more, Peter! And no, I didn’t know much about Vietnam’s geography at all. No idea it had such a long coastline. Funny to see cities that are modern when I’ve clung to the imagined rice paddy scenery with little rivers and huts. Not too unlike how people picture Canada full of green forest, ice fields with igloos, and mountains. When are you back in London? I need an education!
Indeed, most people still picture the Vietnam of the war years in the 1960s/70s. A friend of mine is in Ho Chi Minh City right now and shared a picture of the city’s tallest building, the 470 metres high Landmark 81, which is taller than Kuala Lumpur’s 451 metres high Petronas Twin Towers. So, Ho Chi Minh City now has one of the tallest buildings in the world.
Went back for some pho today and was disappointed. Broth was ordinary. Noodles were clumped together and the meat wasn’t tender. They gave a little saucer of herbs and beansprouts, slices of chilies and some pickled onion slices. The herbs were tired and limp. I ate most of the broth because I was hungry, picked at the noodles, and chewed (a lot) on the beef until my jaw just got tired. so disappointed. i will go back and try the summer rolls and maybe a salad. i did like the bun cha so i would have that again. actually, forgot to take photos! oh my!