7.246 Bun Cha

7.246

7 (Wed) September 2016

Bun Cha

4.0

at Dieu’s Cuisine

-Hanoi-

with KSM

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During my stay, I will have 8 bowls of pho : thrice  for breakfast, thrice for lunch, twice for dinner.

Mission to Viet Nam : Day 2 (see previously 7.245 Pho Bo).

In Hanoi.  Here to attend a conference on ageing.  Arrived yesterday.  Flying back to Manila on Friday.

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Dieu’s Cuisine is a Vietnamese restaurant. Located along Truc Bach Lake (Sofitel to the right).
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In my defense, I didn’t choose the place and didn’t know that it was fusion until I got there and saw the sign …
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… and all the happy white folk.

Most of the food turned out as I’d expected : neither here nor there, style over substance, much ado about mediocrity.

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Someone told me that not-so-cold beer poured into a frosted glass will froth up like this, something to do with the sudden temperature imbalance, like condensation.
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Aromatic Steamed Clams (1.5)
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Squid Stuff Pork (2.5)
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Morning Glory with Garlic (2.0)
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Bo Sot Vang (2.5)

Not just any Vietnamese sauce, nuoc cham is arguably the Vietnamese sauce.  At its most basic : fish sauce + lime juice + vinegar + garlic + chili + sugar.  Salty, sweet, sour, spicy.  Goes with everything.

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Here, the meatballs came in the nuoc cham —  fusionistically — allowing the salty-sweet-sour-spicy flavors to penetrate the meat for additional punch.

Bun cha is Vietnamese noodle dish.  Originated on the streets of Hanoi.  Various components are presented together on a platter : rice noodles, grilled pork, fresh vegetables (e.g., sprouts), aromatics (e.g., cilantro), and of course nuoc cham.   Each bite assembled according to personal preference.  Somewhere between a salad and a noodle soup, yet nothing like either.

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The Bun Cha was a revelation.  Thin noodles. Bite-sized pork meatballs — when fusion actually works, not just show but for good purpose, as the minced meat provided a medium for seasonings of herbs+garlic+lemongrass, though purists presumably wouldn’t approve — caramelized to crusty-smoky perfection.  Delicately tangy nuoc cham, more on the lime, lighter on the fish sauce — another fusion influence, fine with a newbie like me.  Sprouts, lettuce, basil, cilantro, scallion.  Minced ginger and chopped chilies on the side for extra kick, if necessary — not necessary.  Simple yet sophisticated.

I should try to make this.

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