Alright, I'm not gonna lie. After I read Eat Drink & Be Merry's post on Bun Bo Hue, I was drooling. Literally drooling at work. My stomach was growling like crazy and I couldn't wait until Justyn took me to Vung Tau on Friday so I could finally try their verson of the spicy noodles. However, he's going to be at the San Jose Grand Prix volunteering for San Jose Search & Rescue. So today, I did a lot of research to see if I could find a pho place for lunch that had Bun Bo Hue. Nobody had it, except for Pho Vy. I had been there before and wasn't that impressed with their pho. I mean, it's not bad, but it's not the best either. It's decent.
So as 11:00am neared, my stomach was pretty much yelling for me to feed it some spicy noodle soup. I needed it to remedy my so far 3 day hangover. Actually, I don't even know what it was. My stomach was gurgling and I felt extremely dehydrated. OK, maybe it was a hangover. Damn that plum wine!!
Justyn was around the corner from work and picked me up and we were on our way! When we got to the restaurant there weren't a lot of patrons, but we were early for lunch as always. We sat down, ordered and got our drinks. Our food arrived very quickly which was good.
My Bun Bo Hue looked spicy. I mean I knew it was going to be hot, but damn. Little flecks of chili speckled the soup and there was a bunch of chili oil in it. I saw the pork knuckle or what I thought was knuckle. It wasn't a big chunk like ED&BM's. It thinly sliced which was weird. There was, however, the braised beef slices and the pork meatloaf. Then, a chunk of coagulated blood. I have tried it, and I'm not one that likes it, so I scooped that out and added some Thai basil and a squeeze of lime juice.
I slurped up my first spoonful of spicy goodness and nearly choked. Holy crap this stuff is spicy! Did I stop there? No way, with my nose full of snot, eyes watering and forehead sweating like crazy, I still trucked on. I loved the flavors in the soup and the noodles were perfect. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the amount of oil in the soup. It made everything very greasy. I also would have preferred it to be not as spicy as it was. I mean me choking on the first bite HURT like crazy. I added some plum sauce to each of the bites which cut the heat a bit but in the end, I finished it all.
Next, I'm definitely going to make an effort to try Vung Tau's version of this. And then maybe even go to Bun Bo Hue An Nam that Wandering Chopsticks recommended.
Addendum: I tried out a new pho place near my place after searching for Bun Bo Hue An Nam for what seemed like forever. I eventually gave up looking and pulled into a very VERY ghetto shopping center where I found Danh's Garden Restaurant. This place served both Vietnamese and Chinese Cuisine. To me, that didn't bode well. My expectations for restaurants are to focus on one thing and do it well. I was cranky and tired from work and all I wanted was some bun bo hue. At least better than Pho Vy.
I entered the ghetto restaurant and found two tables occupied. Mind you this is around dinner time so I expected more patrons. I flipped through their menu and carefully told the waiter what I wanted. I sat down at a table clutching my purse nervously waiting for my take-out order. There was no way I was going to eat there. I mean, the table of 8 guys that looked somewhat like triad gang members were scary enough. All my muscles were tensed for the entire wait. And by wait, I mean serious wait. I must've sat there for eternity. At least it seemed that way. I think I probably sat there for a good 15 minutes. At least the waiter was kind enough to bring me some iced water. It was pretty warm out afterall.
Eventually my food was packaged up neatly, I paid my tab and just about bolted out there. I found my car parked in the same spot which was good and drove off.
OK, my story's getting kinda long winded but I wanted you guys to get the full experience of how I felt and what I had to go through to acquire some bun bo hue.
Well? WELL? Come on! Spill the beans right?
OMFG these were so good. This is only my second bowl of this stuff and boy was I amazed. Sour, spicey, NOT oily at all. I even got the pork knuckle that ED&BM wrote about. The greens were all there including cabbage, basil, some purpley looking mint stuff, curly green and yellowish brown vegetation, jalapenos and bean sprouts. I added everything to my noodle soup except for the jalapenos and bean sprouts. Gosh you guys, I can't even tell you how good it was. Now I really can't wait to try the places that Wandering Chopsticks and Tigerfish recommended. Surely it must be much better than this place. Not to even say that Danh's Garden Restaurant wasn't good. Wow!
There you have it. My second review of Bun Bo Hue. And no.. there was no time to take a picture of it. Yeah, that's how good it was hehe.