Yield: Serves 4
The last time I was in Saigon, I went back to the lively Cho Vuon Chuoi market near our house. I was so excited to find the same stall that my mother used to take me to for noodles. The lady who once fed me had retired and her daughter had taken over. After squeezing myself onto a low community bench in front of the hot charcoal stove, I found myself indulging in a delectable bowl of noodles with beef that had just come off a sizzling pan. These days, this dish remains a favorite, both for lunch and for a light dinner. For a delicious variation, try it with shrimp or pork.
If there's one dish that exemplifies just how flavors and textures are contrasted in Vietnamese cuisine, it would have to be bun. Made with small rice vermicelli layered on a bed of shredded fresh herbs and greens, it can be served with a variety of meat or seafood toppings. In Vietnam, bun is usually a meal in itself but it certainly can be served in smaller, appetizer-sized portions.
Note on Noodles: Ideally bun should not be refrigerated, because the noodles become dry and stiff. However, if you need to, store the noodles and greens separately. Just before serving, reheat the noodles (preferably in a microwave oven) just until slightly warm. This will help them become soft and a little sticky again.
Note on a Bun Meal:To create a complete bun meal, make this recipe and serve it with a topping. Make sure that the noodles are completely dry before assembling the bowls. Otherwise, the noodles with not adequately soak up the sauce.
Rice Noodles with Fresh Herbs:
Rice Noodles with Fresh Herbs (Bun Voi Rau Thom):
When Marvin Gapultos had a craving for adobo but didn’t know how to make it, he decided to learn his family’s recipes. Since then, he has shared the flavors of Filipino food through his Los Angeles-based food truck The Manila Machine, on his blog Burnt Lumpia, and in The Adobo Road Cookbook.