Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15th - My First Bun Bo Hue Yay Day

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


Vicki said...

I love Mien Trung's bun bo hue! I've only been there once, about 2 years ago, but it was the best I've had in SD.

Sawyer said...

i had my first one there too, thanks to kirk =) def. could use a bowl of that right now. and you went to philly? man i've been out of the loop these days. lookin forward to readin those posts in more detail after my exam!

Kirbie said...

Oh wow, I was just thinking the other day that I really needed to try this dish (after a recent conv with Kirk and his observation that the only Vietnamese food I really know of or eat is pho). And then I looked up his old post and had this on my list of things to do soon..Heehee. Also on my list, fish sauce and tamarind wings from Que Huong!

Mike said...

I've yet to have my first Bun Bo Hue experience - looks like I need to add it to the never-ending list of things I need to try!

Dennis K. said...

Hi Vicki! That's nice to know. I'm glad the rendition of my first was a good one. I'm almost afraid to try a bun bo hue at other places now, haha.

Hi Sawyer, hope you're doing well in Davis, I bet they keep you busy there! ;)
Yeah I was in Philly for a couple days, was a super quick trip. I've been enjoying your soup posts (and pics of your new cat) Good luck on your exams!

Hi Kirbie, not so long ago my week would rotate with hamburgers, ramen, katsudon and curry rice, haha. I honestly wouldn't mind that still, haha, but I enjoy changing things up now and then. And of course it's always great to have someone like Kirk that has a lot of knowledge to get hints from as with reading other blogs for inspiration. I remember my first Banh Mi was at K Sandwiches. I've since had better but KS was my first and I remember loving it and I still cherish the small but significant experience. Anyway cheers to more of these fun first times! ;)

Hi Mike, I know what you mean! I've still yet to try a durian but that's maybe not on the top of my list, haha. ;)

KirkK said...

Hey Dennis - Well..... we'll have to get you some durian! I think you shoud check out Hoai Hue's BBH, now..... for most folks here in SD, it's either one or the other! Thanks as always for the mention.

K and S said...

this sounds good!

Dennis K. said...

Hi Kirk, Hoai Hue is so much closer to me! Definitely will try it.. I think I should start off easy with the durian though, like I think that frozen yogurt version you had a while back... ;)

Hi K&S, yes I found Bun Bo Hue to be very good! I can't wait to try more.. :)