At first glance, a bowl of bun thit nuong can look a bit manic. A sprinkling of garnishes along with grilled meat are placed on top of a bed of noodles with some greens poking through underneath. However, how each of these elements complement each other is what makes this one of the most popular dishes in Southern Vietnam. It’s dead simple to prepare, is one of the prettiest to look at and also one of the most nuanced in flavour.
The bowl is finished with a sprinkling of chopped roasted peanuts, chopped scallions and if you are lucky, deep-fried pork chicharones. Served on the side is the mandatory nuoc cham, which is a meld of fish sauce, garlic, vinegar and sugar. To eat, pour some nuoc cham in the bowl and mix everything together. Crunchy, meaty, slippery, sweet, savoury — you should get all of these taste sensations with each bite.
You can find bun thit nuong in practically every Vietnamese restaurant in town, however the dedicated vendors are the best ones to hit up. Expect to pay from 20,000 VND to 40,000 VND for bun thit nuong on the street depending on what meat you want.
If you have a motorbike and fancy a drive, head to District 8 where the affable Mrs Phuong has been serving a mean bun thit nuong for the past 38 years. Make sure to order her umami-esque nem nuong. For something a bit more central, head to Ben Thanh Market and the excellent food court inside.
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