7 (Wed) September 2016
at Dieu’s Cuisine
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.
Most of the food turned out as I’d expected : neither here nor there, style over substance, much ado about mediocrity.
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.
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.
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.