Well the weather was pretty darn gloomy today and since I didn't have a craving for anything in particular I thought it'd be the day to finally try a Bun Bo Hue.
Shame on me for not trying sooner, but when it typically comes to Vietnamese noodle soup dishes, I have to say I've been pretty boring in relying on my tried and true Pho Bo. The tendency I feel was compounded by a few disappointing experiences when I decided to try something otherwise.. But looking back now I thought maybe I wasn't exactly at the best spot for the particular dish either..
I remembered Kirk of MMM-YOSO mentioning Mien Trung in a positive context when speaking of Bun Bo Hue in San Diego and since I was already subconsciously driving toward Convoy/Linda Vista for lunch today, I thought I'd give the place and the new dish for me a try. :)
(A definite worthwhile look at all that is Bun Bo Hue on MMM-YOSO here.)
It's a tiny place on the same block as K Sandwiches, but behind it right next to Sushi Diner.
No last minute temptation of changing my mind here because Mien Trung doesn't seem to serve Pho, ha. (Mien Trung's full menu here.)
My first Bun Bo Hue.. Yay! ($5.60)
And I really liked it! The clear soup is simultaneously spicy, lightly savory and lime citrusy.. Good flavors that seem to be well balanced. Kinda reminded me of Thai Tom Yum but less herby maybe. The fine shredded cabbage and lettuce that came on a separate plate went really well with as it did the fresh bean sprouts.
I added a little more of the hot chili oil later too..
And while having to gnaw through jaw-muscle-numbing tough meats are an obvious no-no for any dish, I've been feeling that the experience of uber tender melty cuts can be overrated at times. Well it is MEAT so chewing is an essential part of the experience especially if good flavors of meatiness are involved, like a good piece of Ribeye steak or how I always liked that last connective tissue part on Kalbi ribs.. :)
The tendon was the chewiest but ok with me while the beef cuts were also on the chewy and crunchy side but had some nice beefy flavor to it as well. The soft Bologna like pork sausage I really enjoyed too. I even liked the famous blood cube.. It was like a light liver-flavored smooth gelatinous... well, cube. ;) The large pork hock looking piece that I've seen in other bowls must be from the house special Dac Biet version. Curious to try but would be way too much food for me since I barely was able to finish my regular bowl today.
Bummer that the fatter noodles were overdone and too soft this day but I had a great experience overall.
There probably aren't many foods that I can vividly remember the first time ever having, so it's kinda neat to know from here on that October 15th would always be my First Bun Bo Hue Day... :)
Mien Trung, 7530 Mesa College Dr # A, San Diego, CA 92111